In the morning I received a message from a client who wanted to preschedule his cleaning appointment: Instead of tomorrow it would happen tonight. I gave it some thought and agreed. I don’t prefer evening cleanings when I didn’t have a cleaning in the morning before. Also, Thursday is my off-day that I’m using for computer-based work.
It was only 2 hours of cleaning but something went wrong: I slightly kicked a piece of furniture where a big mirror was standing on. I barely felt the touch but the mirror fell down. Shit.
I was annoyed because I felt already in a rush having to finish the apartment in two hours. I sucked the anger and transformed it into action. Of course, I apologized to the client for the accident and started cleaning the mess.
While cleaning there was a first sign that tonight could probably not become the best cleaning experience. First, I didn’t really get into the confidence I built up through very positive client reviews. Second, when I stepped down from the margin of the bath tube I kicked the bucket of cleaning liquid which made the floor wetter than I wanted – I tend to be clumsy when I’m not fully concentrated. Tonight I obviously lacked concentration.
Despite mental preparation on the way to the client’s house, I didn’t execute well. I know how I am when I’m totally in the moment and cleaning like a devil. Tonight it was not the case. Also, I was not able to shut my inner voices down. They became increasingly louder although I did the cleaning job as usual without external noises (radio, etc.) to reach a mode of meditation and full center.
Tonight, things were passing by, in front of me and behind me. I didn’t feel fully in control of my actions. It’s not like being under the influence of substances, not at all. I only felt my physical actions were not in sync with my head. This delay caused me kicking the dirty water bucket and made the mirror fall down.
There’s no autopilot when you do things. Don’t turn the autopilot unless you really have an autopilot like a pilot. When you’re in action, you’re fully in the moment, you show your full you, you give your full attention to what it is you’re attending.
Oh, and what about the mirror? Well, I cleaned the mess as I said. That would mean I cleaned the mirror’s glass. Are you saying you cleaned the broken glass? No, it was not broken. Luckily, it fell on the wax candles which buffered the drop – it was actually three big wax candles. Nothing broke, the glass only received a good portion of wax. “Wax on, wax off“, yep, that’s what I did like Karate Kid.
The takeaway from today: Pay attention, idiot! I’m saying this drastic because I’m also saying it to myself. Wake up, dude! This is also for the two of us. Listen to how you are and build up an internal plan B when you’re not at normal confidence level (plan A).
Plan B could be: Hold on for a minute, pause the action, breathe in, breathe out, become present of where your feet are standing and then realize how these feet are standing on the ground. When the feeling has become strong, you continue working, cleaning or whatever you’re doing. Some episodes in the past I wrote about deliberate practice – it’s the keyword you want to keep in mind here.
Also published on Medium.