The Trials & Tribulations of a Woman on the Road

It all started one dark autumn morning when I drove through beautiful Bundjalung Country in the northern rivers of NSW. A watery sun washed through dark clouds. I was in good spirits having prepared well for the keynote presentation I was to give that day in Canberra, had my lovely new apple red velvet jacket in my luggage to give me confidence and a spring in my step. I had to fly via Sydney but I was happy to be back working after a 2 year drought. I was going to a favourite client I knew and loved well for the first time in years.

The flights went like clockwork. I had good seats. The sun was shining. Happy days. And then my luggage failed to show.

My luggage was carrying pretty much everything I needed. All my make up , my curling iron, my books, material for the presentation like stickers and wallet cards, my remote, the spare preso on USB, my laptop charger, my stage clothes and shoes including that lovely red velvet jacket.

I don’t want to mention the airline because the national carrier comes under enough fire. I don’t know about you but I haven’t had lost luggage since the milkman stopped coming to your house. Internationally I always take essentials on board but in Australia?  It’s not that hard. Or so I thought.

Stress levels on the rise

When we’re under stress, our natural first behavioural preference kicks in. My Mango thought it was pretty funny. I’d have to admit to even being a bit excited. You know, a challenge and all that?

My second preference Banana, chimed in too. It’s easy going nature assured me it would all be cool. I had hours before my keynote. After arriving at the rego desk and checking in with my client, we had a good laugh and my Mango announced the audience would just have to take me as I am.

Except that as I was, was far from where I wanted to be. I’d left home at 430 that morning, knowing I had hours before the presentation for hair and make up. You’re getting the picture? I had on old comfy jeans and a big old fave jumper ( the cheap type that forms little balls all over it)  with some weekend flat boots. Bit of foundation, whip of mascara and clear lip gloss. That is all. I know you get it, girls.

And as the hours ticked by my Lime kicked in and I could feel the worry festering. I checked online with the code the airline gave me. Fail.  Invalid code. I called the airline baggage number I had been given. Fail again. The average waiting time was 2 hours.

It was time to rally the troops and call on my inner Apple. My hair was in need of a colour so I had a dirty one inch streak of grey down the middle. I had planned to spray that bit with the colour spray that was …in my luggage. So number one, fix the hair. Number two, fix the brand. I always wear one of the fruit colours so I needed a shirt or jacket. Like I need more bright colours in my wardrobe.

Normally I like variety. I like new experiences. But all I could feel was Apple pissedoffedness as I scooted around the unfamiliar shopping centre.

Found a lime shirt but did not have a bra that kept my nipples firmly in check so had to purchase a bra. Hit up the make up counter with my sob story to get them to do my make up and then bought concealer and lipstick at least.

No time left for shoes. Old jeans and boots had to cut it.

New undies – obvs. Deodorant, also obvs.

A 45 minute ball of tension.

I have to say that despite breathing and self talk my stress levels were running higher than normal. Because although being a conference speaker is my job, I was always the reluctant speaker due to my breathtaking fear of public speaking. And while I’ve learned to turn my fear into energy I always spend the last hour or two in a calm space, breathing and rehearsing right up until the time I enter the room. And this safety net was denied me.

I arrived in the room with bold lips and a sassy top but the cortisol was still running high and I have to admit it put me off my stroke a little at the start. I had to work hard to bring it back, my Lime doing some deep breathing, my inner Mango reassuring myself that I was fabulous and my inner Banana had her arm around me until my inner Apple just screamed Relax!, FFS. You’ve got this.

When we’re under pressure we tend to work in our top two behavioural preferences. But when I reflect on many of these times I realise I actually need to call on the whole crew to see me through.  Being able to access your whole brain, even the bits that don’t come so naturally, is a skill. But it’s completely possible. You choose how to react. You choose who to call on. There are times when you need the quiet logic of Lime, the optimism of Mango, the comfort of Banana or the action of Apple.

Aristotle said that knowing yourself was the beginning of all wisdom. I think he may be have been on to something.

Which Fruit are You?

Find out your preference for Apple, Mango, Lime or Banana, do the short Fruit Quiz.

Learn more about how how Fruity personalities impact our lives at work and at home through Lynne’s books, Bite Me! and Pick me!