Have you ever faced a situation in which any decision you made could be a bad one? I experienced this recently with a new consulting assignment.
I was excited to get the work. It was a new client and my performance could send more work my way. I’d prepared for the first meeting, was confident in my ability and ready to go. Then the unthinkable happened.
The evening before the meeting, Dewey and Mia sprinted outside and got sprayed by a skunk. It was dark. The dogs ran out of the house like normal, the outside light came on, and we spotted the skunk. Stephen called the dogs back but it was too late. The skunk was scared and let everyone know. With the dogs now running toward the house, we had to act fast. Dewey came in first and I grabbed him. Picking him up at arm’s length, I threw him in the laundry room sink. Stephen got Mia after she jumped on the sofa.
The smell was horrific. Stephen washed the dogs in order to minimize my exposure.
The next morning the house reeked. It was like an odorous cloud wafting through the house with a smell that would cling to your body. Our noses were desensitized and we had no way of knowing whether or not we smelled.
I pictured myself as a living version of Peanut’s Pig Pen with the odor following me wherever I went. Highly doubting a reputation as “The Smelly Consultant” would garner business, I saw two options for my meeting. (1) Explain what happened and apologize or (2) Pretend it never happened and hope they didn’t notice.
Because Stephen took the brunt of the spray, he offered to conduct a sniff test at work. The logic: if he passed, I would too. Fortunately he smelled normal so I followed my instinct and kept silent. Either my new clients didn’t notice anything or they granted me im-pew-nity for my transgression. I think it was the former because I got the job.
I learned something through this experience. Follow your instinct even if your inn stinked.
May the farce be with you!