Vigilance on the Road
Vigilance is everything.
When you are traveling for work, mind in a million meetings and exhausted from driving and plane hopping, it’s more important than ever.
My friend, Shelley Klingerman, literally wrote the book on Vigilance. I’m glad she did. Her guidance has kept me safe more than once, but most recently, it was like I could hear her in my head pointing out red flags. There was a shark in the water, and as she says, they bump before they bite. Thanks to her training I was watching.
I had been at a conference that included an intense field trip. I had spent an afternoon on an unairconditioned school bus in the middle of a Midwest heat wave and then toured a hot and noisy manufacturing facility. The work they were doing there was excellent, but the environment took its toll on me. I arrived back at my hotel disheveled, sweaty, and pressed for time to get ready for my next meeting.
As I swept through the lobby, a man from the hotel bar strode over to me and got to the elevator bank just as I did. He pressed the button, engaged me in small talk. I was all too happy to recount the uncomfortable afternoon and my personal convictions on how best to attract women to advanced manufacturing.
It was not until he entered the elevator with me and waited for me to press the floor button that I heard Shelley’s voice in my head. Alarms went off. I suddenly did not trust this man. As soon as the doors opened again, I made myself as physically large as I could and walked quickly and purposely down the hall. I was nervous. He was following me. I fumbled my key, and that was more than enough time for him to see my room number as he walked by.
I did not see with my eyes, but I heard the door to the stairs open and close, not another room on that floor. He circled, bumped, and swam away.
As soon as I could, I met my colleague and told her the whole story. She never left my side after that and escorted me to my room without hesitation – a service for which I am eternally grateful. I was safe (and appropriately well-armed behind the deadbolt in my room).
Thankfully, this story ends well. It might have been different if I was not vigilant, and frankly, I could have done more to protect myself – requesting a new room or never getting in the elevator with him in the first place. But I recognized my position and took corrective action.
Truly, I’m thankful for Shelley’s training, her book, and her excellent reminders on social media to stay vigilant. Ladies, if you are a fellow road-warrior, run don’t walk to get Shelley’s book. Visit her website, follow her feeds wherever you can and book her for training in your company, club, or social group.
Trust me when I say, you will be thankful you did.