As a virtual assistant and online business manager, I have amazing clients, and even more amazing relationships with them. We do great things in their businesses, and one way we do that is to spend time on the big picture, not just the day-to-day stuff.
Of course, it's hard to focus on the big picture in weekly one-hour calls when you also have to handle questions that come up, tasks, short-term plans, and the like. The best way to handle THAT problem, then, is to set aside a big block of time to do that big picture visioning and planning.
So, off to Oklahoma I go to work with my awesome client Kristin for two full days. I get there Wednesday night, and we stay up until 3:00am talking about all sorts of stuff, including, yes, work. As it got later and later, Kristin would say, "We don't have to start until 12:00 tomorrow." At 3:00am when we finally went to bed, she said, "We don't have to work at all tomorrow!"
But work we did, and we got a ton done: planning a new huge project that will change her business completely (in a very good way), expense and revenue planning, pricing outlines, time management.... Then, dinner with Kristin and sister (who is also involved in the business), and to bed slightly earlier than the night before.
Friday morning: Woo-hoo! We're going to get so much done!!!!
Until about noon when I start feeling queasy and dizzy. We think that something bubbly might help, so off we go to get a Diet Coke. Almost all the way there, I ask Kristin to turn around and take me back to her house. I don't make it.
We finally get home, and I go to bed for an hour and a half and wake up feeling better. I decide to eat a toasted bagel since I haven't eaten anything all day (bad idea as it turned out). We get some more work done, and I talk with another of my clients while Kristin has a coaching call. I end my phone call, and ten minutes later, my entire world is upside down.
I spend the next several hours in the bathroom, and I become so severely dehydrated that I'm slightly delirious. Mark calls Kristin, and they decide I really need to go to the emergency room.
(What convinced them? When I said, "I don't know what to do," they both panicked and decided I needed medical intervention.)
An IV of fluids and anti-nausea medication later, I'm coherent and better. However, my flight is supposed to leave at 8am on Saturday morning, and Kristin, Mark, and the PA in the emergency room don't think I should leave that early.
I'm devastated because I just want to go home. (It sucks being sick anyway, but being sick and not home is worse.)
We go back to Kristin's house, and she gets me a later flight home for Saturday, which we're assumng I'll be better for, and we go to bed.
I wake up the next morning, feeling much better. I try to convince Kristin that we should get some work done before she takes me to the airport, but she won't let me. Instead, she fixes me tea and toast.
Now, this is after 24 hours of her taking great care of me.... checking on me when I'm sick, taking me to the ER, filling out all the forms, going back to the examining room with me, getting me all sorts of fluids and medicine, and just being so genuinely concerned.
That's where the client love part comes in.... when you work closely with a client, you should have a good relationship with her, one that's based on trust and connection. It's vital to a good working relationship. But we don't ever think about it in terms of "Well, if I get sick, then I hope I really trust my client to take care of me." Literally, my life was in Kristin's hands, and I trusted her completely.
What about the anti-naughty medicine? When Kristin was texting Mark to keep him in the loop of what was going on, she was trying to type that they were giving me anti-nausea medicine. Her auto-correct changed it to anti-naughty medicine. She showed me, and let's just say that laughing when you're nauseous and weak is not fun.
So, it's Saturday morning, and it's time to leave for my later, 12:10pm flight. Kristin drives me to the airport, we say a tearful, love-filled good-bye (and promise to do this next time without getting sick), and off into the Tulsa airport I go. By the way, it's the Tulsa International Airport, and I asked Kristin how in the world it could be an international airport when I can't get a direct flight from any of the three major airports in the DC-Baltimore area to Tulsa. She says, "Oh, it's international all right. It's the Tulsa-to-Dallas airport."
Into Tulsa International Airport I go to check in. There are two ticket agents, and one is helping a tall, thin man with reddish brown hair and a beard. I hear his ticket agent say, "It's such an honor to meet you. My husband will be jealous."
I take a look at his luggage, and he has a beat-up trunk and an old, worn, soft leather briefcase. I'm thinking musician based on the trunk.
I do my thing with my ticket agent, and I hear the other one say, "Have a good flight, Mr. Molly. We'll just call you that..."
I hear his voice, and it's familiar. I don't think it can be the person I think the voice belongs to... Tulsa International Airport. No entourage. No security. Crappy luggage. And did I say Tulsa International Ariport?
I finish up and go off to security, and guess who gets in line behind me? (It's a very small airport.)
I turn to him and say, "Are you who I think you are?"
He responds, "Maybe. Who do you think I am?"
Holy shit! Really?! (No, I did NOT say that, but I thought it.)
I say that it's a pleasure to meet him, and he shakes my hand and asks my name.
I then say, "I have to ask... what are you doing in Tulsa?"
He tells me that he just spend 9 weeks making a movie (August: Osage County), and they just finished the night before. I asked him if we was pleased with the work he did, and he said yes.
I tell him that I loved him as Obi Wan Kenobi and that he did an amazing job channeling Alec Guinness. He thanked me. Then, typical Dawn, I say, "I don't mean to do the typical, gushing whole 'Omigosh! You're amazing" thing but.... Omigosh, you're amazing!"
He was so gracious and kind, and I was just blown away by meeting one of my favorite actors in one of the most un-assuming places.
I couldn't help but think that if I hadn't gotten sick and had to leave later the next day, I would never have had that moment.
Find your moments.