What was I thinking? Changing my work devices all at once was a self-inflicted stomach ache.

What was I thinking? The guy at the Apple Store made it seem so simple!  But changing my work devices all at once was a self-inflicted stomach ache.

The woman at the ATT store told me it would be simple. The cool Apple guy told me it would be easy and fun. Seriously!? What was I thinking?

Recently, data conversion stress caused my nervous system to go haywire and I threw a two-year-old, John McEnroe-style tempter tantrum. How’s that for good leadership?

It was totally self-inflicted. I was silly (stupid) to change out both my hand-held and laptop at once. I waited too long to make the switch, and all of the devices were clogged with too much data. I was incubating a virtual tapeworm of data constipation. I had to make a change because my business couldn’t endure the “pinwheel of death” any longer.

Hypocritical lifestyle

I know I’m a hypocrite. Even though we run a leadership consulting business via the internet, airplanes and cell phones…deep down inside I’m a technology laggard. I prefer telephone calls to FaceTime or Skype. I don’t Snapchat, and rarely Facebook. I’m that old guy who actually needs to print a document for proof reading.

Modern communication devices make it possible to work from anywhere there is a 'hot spot.'

Modern communication devices make it possible to work from anywhere there is a ‘hot spot.’

But I also love the freedom and flexibility that I can make coaching calls in my jeans and baseball cap anywhere I have “two bars” of reception. Almost everyday I work on writing columns, blogs and books from interesting places where there’s a “hot spot.” When things are going well, I call it “blending” my personal and professional life. But the instant one of these devices doesn’t work, my temper explodes.

Apology necessary

The most recent breaking point made me scare myself. At 9am on a Tuesday, a client hung up on me because he couldn’t endure the terrible reception on my fancy new phone. Turns out, the 20-something geek who sold me the phone had my settings tuned to a new data wave called “LTE.” It doesn’t work yet in suburban Minneapolis. BUT I WORK IN SUBURBAN MINNEAPOLIS! I screamed at the customer service rep. How can you run a coaching business if the phone has no reception?

I had to circle back and apologize to my colleague Erin, because I went into a John McEnroe inspired tantrum when my client hung up.

I had to circle back and apologize to my colleague Erin, because I went into a John McEnroe inspired tantrum when my client hung up.

Meanwhile, I couldn’t do any email or writing to calm myself down…because the data transfer from the old to new MacBook Air took nearly 48 hours. That’s two days. In the middle of the week. Mylanta!?

Staying calm is important

Looking back, I’m reflecting on my volatility. This was definitely a first-world problem. Technology is not without moments of insanity. I take the advice of others seriously, and I take my client work seriously. Too seriously?

Once I calmed down, I learned how to switch the phone back to 4G and I was happy again. And everyone was just fine.

Good leaders trust in the expertise of others to help them accomplish amazing things. And sometimes, self-inflicted stress causes bad decisions.

What self-inflicted stress is getting you rattled?