Lessons In Agility Courtesy Global Warming

When I was packing for our trip to Grenoble, I was expecting spring, a mix of sunny and rainy days, with temperatures going up to 20℃. From what I remembered of my stay in Grenoble in 2009, it was still cold in March and April, and I was still wearing my overcoat and sweaters.

Conflans (84km from Grenoble) en route to Mont Blanc, April 2009

And so when it was time to pack, I pulled out my overcoats, sweaters, stockings and boots. The day we landed in France, it was 6℃ in Paris, and close to 3℃ by the time we reached Grenoble. No surprise there. The weather stuck to that over the next few days. But then last week, when we stepped out to bright patches of flowers in every street corner and parks swarming with shirtless men and women in tank tops, as temperatures went up to 23℃, I started wondering if I had packed right!

What was I going to do with my turtleneck tops, stockings and knee high boots, when the weather demanded sleeveless dresses and sandals?

Damn you, global warming!

I started with a stance of resistance. I hadn’t carried my warm clothes just to leave them in the cupboard, after all! But after a few days of stopping to shed a layer (or two) within minutes of leaving our apartment, I finally started leaving the outer layers back home. So far, so good. And then the temperature climbed up to 26℃ and I was the only woman walking around in stockings and boots, forcing me to give up my “I really don’t need more shoes” stance and step into a store to pick up weather-appropriate footwear.

Which shoes will I wear next week, I wonder?

The next few weeks are supposed to bring rain (and even some snow?), but the weather app on my phone has been predicting rain since the day we’ve landed, and I haven’t seen a single drop so far, so these purchases might not be a complete waste. Or so I hope.

What does this story have to do with agility, you ask? 

As a list-making person, who seeks organisation and order in every realm of her life, this completely random wardrobe disruption annoyed me no end. I packed for milder temperatures, so the unexpected spike in temperatures caught me unaware, forcing me to rethink the way I dressed, in order to avoid feeling like a chicken in a sous-vide bag! I realised that I can’t be rigid, and stick to what I had planned to wear. I would have to be more agile, and adapt to the weather. And perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing. I’ve reached a stage in life where I expect things to go as per plans, and unexpected hiccups cause me great stress. Yet, the path I’ve chosen is one strewn with many unexpected turns and obstacles. As a co-founder of a startup, agility, whether in something relatively inconsequential as my attire for the day, or something as important as the next steps in our startup, has never been more crucial. 

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

– Robert Burns, To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough, November, 1785

And the most detailed of plans made by entrepreneurs can often end up in the bin with a change in circumstances. Only those who can be responsive to the change in their environment, react with agility, and quickly adapt will survive. And adapt I did, with a new pair of shoes! 🙂


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