I had a great opportunity to learn about teamwork yesterday. My wife hopped in our Jeep with the kids to take my son to an eye appointment. As she was backing out of the driveway, she called to tell me the transmission was grinding pretty badly and asked if it was okay to drive. I had an appointment for the car the very next day (today, that is) and told her, "I'm sure it'll be fine." "The transmission isn't going to fall out of the car or anything, will it?"
"No, sweetheart, you'll be okay."
Fast forward about an hour and she's sitting in the parking lot of the doctor's office with the Jeep out of gear, unable to get it into any gear at all. She had to ask some guys working on the landscaping to push her into a parking spot. They made a great team. Me? Not yet.
So guys, there's a new Rule in my book of Husband Rules: "Never tell your wife everything is going to be okay. Because you just don't know."
Doing it Alone
I then started trying to deal with this by myself. I called the mechanic and got our appointment moved up. They recommended a towing service. Then I left work early to go pick up my family from the doctor's and take them to meet-the-teacher day at school, effectively missing half a day of work but getting to spend unexpected time with them.
The early diagnosis is a broken pressure plate in the clutch. Which could mean a lot of things. It probably also means a lot more than my $1000 baby emergency fund. I'll find out exactly how much more later today.
So I then set about trying to figure out how to pay for this repair, which led to a new Rule in my book of Entrepreneur Rules: "Your car is an essential tool in your business toolbox. But so is your spouse's. Ignore either at your own risk."
But did I talk with my wife about this? Did I let her be part of the solution? Have I figured out teamwork yet? Of course not. I'm a type-A nerd.
My day ended with a drizzly football team practice for my son. Sitting there, wondering what I was going to write about this morning, I was struck by two things:
- The kids, after only playing football together for two weeks, and for some of them only playing football at all for two weeks, were playing together remarkably well.
- The coaches weren't coaching alone. They were showing teamwork as well, shifting around as needed, taking direction from the head coach and using their own unique skills.
I realized then and there that in the midst of being overwhelmed by this financial surprise, I was neglecting the biggest resource I had available to me--my wife and partner. So tonight, after the kids are in bed, I'm going to sit down with her and talk it all through. Together. I'm not going to pitch her on any ideas I've had.
We're going to discuss it and come up with something together.
As a team.