Have you ever faced a similar situation?

Have you ever faced a similar situation? How did you navigate it that time? I’ve asked those questions of clients many, many times. Often taking a moment’s stock of a time when it ‘hit the fan’ and we managed to get by gives us the courage to come unstuck.

I’ve been seeing notes and quotes about Mercury Retrograde pop up on Facebook and twitter and instragram – and many of them have a shriek to their tone. These shrieks brought back the worst retrograde fail of my life – the one I point to and say I lived through that, so I can survive this one too.

To be clear: I am a double Virgo with Mercury in Virgo. Put simply this means when I was born, the Sun, Moon and planet Mercury were in the sign of Virgo. Mercury is the ruling planet of both Virgo and Gemini – and typically both signs stand to be whooped during Mercury Retrograde. All of that is to say I take Mercury Retrograde precautions very seriously, indeed.

So, from January 5 to January 25th I resolve to keep cool (as much as I normally ever do), take my time, watch my words, spell check everything twice, double check that I have my phone, wallet and keys before leaving the house and recognize that things will still get screwed up. Can I, a double Virgo, really be so calm when faced with this information?

I wasn’t always this calm about retrograde and I still reserve the right to freak out in the next twenty days. Reserving that right leads me to share the story of that time my professional career went to Hades in a hand basket and still, somehow when the dust settled it was all ok. Imagine? It was all ok – before I was a Life Coach and knew there are no mistakes and everyone is meant to be our teacher.

I want to be fair and say this story was brought about by an error on my part and as far as silly, even stupid errors go – this one takes the cake and for just about 18 hours I really did think I was going to be fired.

What did I do?

I double booked meetings with two seriously big time authors – and didn’t realize what I had done until two days before the meeting(s) when I sat down to finalize the agendas. Oh and the bonus which proves this was an epic Mercury Retrograde screw-up? My manager, her manager, most of our art department, a couple of directors and and no less than three vice-presidents were all invited to both meetings and no one noticed. That’s right, for a few weeks several very smart people (and my manager- more on her later) had conflicting meetings on their electronic calendars, which the email program highlighted red (“Danger Will Robinson, Danger”) and no one realized until I did – that morning. Ah, the overbooked, overlooked American Corporate Culture at it's finest. 

So, at the 11th hour I had to admit my mistake and take my lumps. No getting around it – I called both meetings, it was my mistake. Of course this was a point my boss hammered home, loudly. I was mortified. I actually wondered how hard it would be to learn to bi-locate and just lead both meetings simultaneously. After all it had to be easier than rescheduling big important meetings with less than 24 hours notice. Oh, and did I mention both authors had to travel several hours to make the meetings, in person? No? Well they did.

When I made the dreaded call to my very, very smart, important, big money author – only because I knew he hadn’t left home yet – and made a joke about not yet mastering the art of bi locating. He laughed.  Seriously, he laughed like I was channeling George Carlin. He was also kind and gracious agreeing without hesitation to reschedule. Yes, that phone call I was dreading, which my manager was so very furious I had to make was over in less than five minutes, with a meeting easily rescheduled for a week later.

Want to know the best part? The most ironic part? The absolutely, positively this can only happen during Mercury Retrograde part?

The other folks took rescheduling in stride, too. Yes, the editors, the directors, the vice-presidents all shook their heads and mused at how they didn’t notice the conflict, either. Just ‘too many meetings’ they said and thanked the author for his flexibility; they even thanked me for thinking quickly and sounding the alarm. We met the following week. The author made quite the show of presenting me with a beautifully wrapped box – containing a calendar and a sci-fi book on time travel.  Everyone laughed.

My point – I survived. I survived double booking two major contributors to the world of science and a man very likely to win a Nobel Prize gifted me a calendar. Our team had the mother of all inside jokes and we bonded in a way few teams ever do. I also have a crazy amazing role model for how to treat people who screw-up schedules and fall prey to Mercury Retrograde.

There are no mistakes and we are meant to learn from everyone we meet. Happy Mercury Retrograde.