The Choice-When You Are Not The Ringmaster

While standing in line to speak with a gate agent about a delayed flight, I overheard the person in front of me. It was a mother inquiring about her son, who was going on the flight alone. Due to the delay in the flight, she was concerned that her son would miss his connection and have to stay in Atlanta overnight-supervised by an airline agent. Any parent can understand her fears.

What was unusual was that the mother wanted the agent to guarantee her that her son would make his connecting flight. When the agent could obviously not assure her that would happen, the mother became very upset. The agent tried to improve the situation by offering the opportunity for the boy to take a flight the next day to minimize the chance of being stranded on his itinerary. Then the mother made lots of excuses about how much trouble it would be to have to come back the next day. Exasperated, the agent said, “It’s your choice-I have done all I can. It’s out of my control.” And to tell the truth, the same could be said for the mother.

It made me think of how often I want a guaranteed outcome-when its not within my ability to control. In those times I really need to make the choice of whether failure to achieve the outcome is worth the risk instead of paralyzing myself fretting over things I can not control. In the mother’s case, she had two choices-send the son on the trip and risk him being stranded for the night-or go home and try again the next day. Unless it was a medical or family emergency, I know which option I would choose.

The next time you’re not the ringmaster, remember your limits-and make the choices that ARE within your control.