Yesterday I relocated a cherished photograph that I had purchased in Vietnam. Taking in the serenity of the salt flats in Long Thanh’s Harvest’s Day photo brought me back to a less serene experience I had while stuck on a curb in Saigon (I know it’s Ho Chi Minh City, but nobody calls it that). My objective, a restaurant where my husband and my lunch awaited me, stood on the opposite side of the street. I could see the food, smell it and, if you know me, you know I had built up quite an appetite.
Stranded in the Chaos
The only barrier between me and my lunch was crossing the street. Now, this sounds like a simple task, but at noon in Saigon, my objective might as well have been the far side of the moon. The road was crammed with motor scooters (called “motos”), bicycles, motorcycles, cyclos (pedaled rickshaws), cars, trucks and buses. The fewer wheels a contraption had, the more passengers it seemed to carry. I saw a family of 5 riding a Honda scooter – sans helmets, of course.
Even the center lines contributed to the confusion. In Saigon, rather than dividing the traffic into two lanes, each moving in opposite directions, the yellow markers apparently serve only to indicate that you are on a paved road. I watched as people passed, stopped, turned around and crisscrossed the center lines with utter abandon.
Traffic flowed both ways in the same lane, more traffic merged from the side streets, and people pushed their motos off the curbs into the flow at odd angles. At any given moment traffic bore down on me from as many as 6-8 directions, front, back, sides and all angles – everywhere, it seemed, except from above. To me it was a scene of incredible chaos.
The traffic lights compounded my problem. In Saigon they serve only an advisory purpose. Even when the light turned red, traffic continued to flow, as drivers blatantly ignored the red light! The lanes of traffic impatiently waiting at the green light would edge forward into the traffic that was ignoring the red light. At some point traffic trying to move with the green light would build up enough momentum (and vehicles) to stop the traffic running the red light. Traffic would then flow correctly until the light changed, and the whole process started again.
Dancing Through the Chaos
Under this onslaught, the flashing green “walk” sign over the crosswalk taunted me from the far side of the street. I was ready to look for something to eat on my side of the street when an older Vietnamese gentleman took my arm.
In English he kindly said, “Crossing the street is not a problem, but a dance.” With that, we stepped off the curb and entered the maelstrom together.
My heart pounded as we walked slowly across the street. Instead of greeting us with blaring horns, irate shouts and screeching brakes, the drivers saw us and adjusted to us. As long as we made no sudden movements (like diving for the curb or running screaming from the street), we were fine. I felt like we were swimming through a school of fish. The tempest flowed smoothly around us and before I knew it we had reached the other side.
I thanked my benefactor and went on to lunch. Later that day I taught the same technique to my husband and friends – at one point crossing a busy boulevard with an entourage of eight people strung out like a Broadway chorus line.
Later I thought about how the traffic in Saigon is a metaphor for your legal nurse consulting business. There is a sort of graceful chaos, everyone going in their own direction, some traveling with traffic, some across it and some against it. Buses and trucks barrel through the streets, stopping for no one. Certainly collisions and accidents happen, but for the most part the system works. People reach their destinations and life goes on. And the best way to survive is not to struggle against the flow, but to approach it like a dance.
Invitation to the Dance
Do you dance through your life, your CLNC® business and the surrounding chaos? Or do you struggle against it, exhausting yourself, causing collisions with others and keeping yourself from reaching your chosen destination?
On any given day, each of us must adapt to life and pass through it gracefully. Occasionally things are going well, then out of the blue a big truck bears down on us, forcing us to stop or change directions. How we deal with such routine chaos as Certified Legal Nurse Consultants determines whether we prosper or fail.
In your CLNC® business, you have attorney-clients, subcontractors, vendors, obstacles and challenges that appear in the road in front of you. You have many choices. Tell me – do you collide with them head on, turn down a side street, take a detour, avoid them altogether or simply flow with them? How well you adjust your dance to this chaos controls your future success as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.
You can adjust to the chaos and dance through it gracefully, or you can allow it to stop you or force you into costly detours. The choice is yours.
In Saigon, I chose to cross the street with my new-found guide and enjoyed the reward of a wonderful lunch. Then I plunged back into the chaos, feeling a lot more comfortable with it all. Every day I step out to face the traffic and dance with it to the best of my ability. You can do the same for your CLNC® business if you cultivate the grace to flow with chaos.
Success Is Yours,
Vickie Milazzo Institute
P.S. Comment and share how you dance through the chaos.