Dog Bites & Cancelled Flights: Be PRepared for the Unexpected

As PR professionals, our experience and APR and CPRC accreditation courses have prepared us to help our clients through the perils of media crises, rained out special events or the occasional negative feedback — but sometimes it seems that no matter how well you plan, you have to be prepared for the unexpected…

Even the "best laid plans" can sometimes take a detour

Take this week for example.  After a quiet holiday break, I headed full force into the first week of 2011 filled with the energy, enthusiasm and eagerness that only the promise of a New Year can bring.  Fresh binders, crisp new folders and my brand new date book beckoned, and I could not wait to get started. To pump up the energy even more, I began the day with a four-mile run, well on the road to training for my next half marathon.

Training for half and whole marathons is an integral part of my work/life balance

I rounded the corner heading into my neighborhood, spotted a friendly looking gentleman taking his perky friendly looking dog out for walk and got set to call out a friendly “good morning” as I ran by.  From out of the blue, the leashed dog lunged out, sinking two really sharp canines into my shin.  It hurt, yes, but it was more the shock that stopped me in my tracks.

Getting bitten by a dog is not one of those things you can anticipate

At first there didn’t seem to be too much damage and not wanting to create “drama,” I  limped home to check (not lick) my wounds.  It wasn’t until I arrived at my front door that I saw the blood running down my leg and into my shoe. Long story, but the week that started at a fast and graceful stride ended with a pathetic limp, a tetanus shot, antibiotics and a 10-day waiting period to find out if the dog has any horrible diseases.

Moving on, I decided to be undaunted and get ready for a quick two-day trip to NJ to see my Dad who is recovering from knee replacement surgery.  I cleared my calendar for Friday and Monday, packed an overnight bag and my laptop and was set to leave this morning only to wake up to a 3:47 a.m. voicemail telling me my flight was cancelled.  Why?  They said it was weather related but no weather related event actually occurred.  It was just cancelled.

A cancelled flight can change the direction of your day.

After calling disappointed family members up north about the change in plans, I headed (or limped) to my office for a regular work day.

Here I am, thinking about this slightly “off” week when I have been twice diverted from the path I set out on.  As a planner and an organizer, it’s not always easy to see scheduled events fall by the wayside.  I guess I am understanding John Lennon’s lyric, “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.”

So what happens next?  In a few minutes I will pack up some work to take home over the weekend, nurse my dog bite, check my calendar to reschedule that flight and remind myself to always expect the unexpected.

Do you have any experiences when your plans went awry?  Would love to hear your story!

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