Never Waste a Good Snow Day

Xperience Growthblogposts

By: Carter Williams, Director of Xperience Growth Coaching & Consulting

This week much of the country is experiencing some form of winter weather. Many places are experiencing record breaking events.

In my hometown of Austin, TX, it’s not been in the single digits in the nearly 20 years I’ve lived here. The freezing rain & snow mixture added to the record low temperatures are wreaking havoc.

Few people that we’re in contact with are unaffected. Some worse than others. We’re experiencing widespread power outages and freezing pipes with no water.

We’re lucky, we’ve managed to keep power and water at our house. The neighbors across the street are going on 36+ hours with no power as I write this. We are affected, no internet service and limited cell service means that we’re only able to text, talk and periodically download emails. No zooms or FaceTimes. Limited social media and Slack. Our other issue are our hot water pipes. We’ve had pipes freeze and not provide hot water to our garage apartment where we have a short-term rental guests staying this month. Make no mistake, we’re among the lucky.

Like many of our fellow Austinites, Texans and others across the country, we’re experiencing a snow day.

What are we to do on a snow day? Ironically, we talked about “snow days” a year ago at the start of the pandemic quarantine. In the PLACE organization, we said that the first few days of the pandemic was NOT a snow day. Meaning, it wasn’t a license to take the day(s) off, that we could still move our businesses forward. We said something like, your phones work, your computers work, so go make the most of this time and talk to people see how you can help them.

Great advice then. What about now?? This actually IS a snow day. Our phones are not working (well), our computers are not working (for long). Is it now okay to have a snow day?

Yes, now is that time. Have a snow day. Just take advantage of it.

I admit that it’s hard to not be frustrated when the utilities that we usually take for granted are not working. We can also easily sink down into feeling sorry for ourselves. When we take advantage of our situation, though, we will not feel frustrated and sorry for ourselves. We’ll feel empowered.

What can I do?
Simple question that is hard to ask when your hands are tied behind your back, like on a snow day. Monday was one of those days for our house. No internet, no phone service. Therefore, no stable connection outside of texts, which didn’t work reliably.

Can I hotspot my phone to my computer? No. Can I have call people and check in? No. Can I use slack? Not well. Can I do anything in real time? Not really. Can I find out who has better connectivity and ask them for help? Yes. Can I let people know that I can’t talk and that we’ll catch-up later with a status update on where we’re at with projects? Yes. Can I dive into my book and finish it faster? Yes!

With a clear conscious and positive energy, I opened my book and read by the fire. It’s what I could do to move me forward and it felt great.

What can I learn?
We always have something to learn. This week, I’m learning about freezing pipes and how to remedy them.

I mentioned the guests in our apartment. Turns out they are from Michigan and know all about the best practices for thawing out pipes. Granted, this may be common knowledge, yet it’s not common to me. Our guest Jim has been so gracious to walk me through the problem and how best to solve it. He taught me to apply heat to exposed pipes to the nearest frozen faucet to the water source. Unfreeze that and then work your way to the farthest faucet. So far, I’ve de-iced a faucet and am working the plan!

Learning the finer points of freezing pipes has not ever been high-up on my list of things that I’m excited to learn. I’m focusing hard on the lesson to be learned, which actually stops the frustration of needing to learn it. Fact is, I could simply not do anything and just ride it out hoping for the best. I’ve decided to take the opportunity to learn something in the process. That is so much more empowering than allowing the circumstance and my lack of knowledge to cause negative emotions.

Who can I help?
We always have something to give to someone else. Maybe it’s a physical something, maybe it’s time, maybe it’s a listen ear, maybe it’s empathy.

Many of us feel good when we can help someone else. Not the kind of help where we look for something in return, just genuine help.

Honestly, we didn’t feel like we are in a position to do much given that we’re stuck in the house. We did reach out to ever member of our team and offer support & empathy. It’s not a lot, yet it is something that we can do to show the people we care about how much we do care.

When we do, learn and help what we can, our energy changes from stress to optimization. Our brains starts to release dopamine and oxytocin, which then affects the way we think and approach our situations. We start looking for solutions, opportunities and make better decisions. We engage in virtuous cycles that allow to truly take advantage of our snow days and send us into personal and professional productivity even before the snow melts.

Plus, it allows us to have more fun! Instead of lamenting about the meeting I couldn’t connect to, I took my daughter or her first (and maybe will be her only ever) sledding excursion in our neighborhood.

Enjoy the snow day!