Through no one’s fault but my own, I lost a month’s worth of work and email. I am typically very compulsive about weekly backups on my laptop. But in early September I found myself distracted by company in town, a busier-than-usual social life and beautiful, cooler weather in which to pursue adventures on my bicycle instead of my keyboard.
I’d look at the backup drive as I headed out the door and think, “tomorrow.”
Then Steve Jobs died. And on the same day, so did my MacBook Pro. My co-worker, Mala Blomquist, called the loss an empathetic death by a loyal machine in mourning for its founder.
My laptop did, after all, take a rather startling and dramatic leap from a high place, landing on a hard, stone floor in exactly the right position to completely destroy its hard drive.
The guys at MacMedia in Scottsdale quickly replaced the drive, but the possibility of full data recovery looked bleak. So I had them restore my world to Sept. 5, and have spent the last week trying to recreate what has happened since then.
In a way, the fact that this all took place on the day we lost a visionary and legendary corporate leader has helped me keep my perspective. I kept finding myself thinking, “What would Steve Jobs do?”
I knew he wouldn’t waste time feeling sorry for himself. Losing a bit of data would be nothing but a minor annoyance to someone who didn’t let pancreatic cancer dilute his creativity or drive.
I figured Steve Jobs would see my dilemma as an opportunity. A chance to “think different.”
So I challenged myself to do the same. Most importantly, I decided I was not going to panic. Mala noticed the difference. “You’re handling this a lot better than the last time,” she said. (That would be the time I spilled a whole cup of coffee on my keyboard, ruining another hard drive after a period of lapsed backups.)
I decided to look for the advantages of my situation. Instead of berating myself for my stupidity/carelessness/lack of responsibility, I decided to pat myself on the back for resourceful efforts I came up with to get around the situation. It became a game: If I no longer have [whatever], where could I find it? You’d be surprised to realize how much of your life is out there floating around. I recovered a precious recent photo of my two grown sons because I’d uploaded it to my Facebook. My art director had copies of several documents I thought I’d lost. Other staff members searched their outgoing email and resent requests they’d made in recent weeks.
In losing copious notes on my “to do” list, I had a chance to rebuild my work strategy based on true priorities instead compulsively tended minutia.
I’ve dropped some balls in the last week. I’m sure there are more out there waiting to fall. But guess what? All those horrible consequences that perfectionists like me worry will result when we’re not 100% on our game? Didn’t happen.
As my friend and colleague Vicki Balint always says, “If nobody got cancer and nobody died, it’s been a good week.”
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go run a backup.