A few years ago, while I was leading a group call with nearly 30 women, my parents telephoned me on both my home phone and my cell phone 4 times within about 2 minutes.
I could feel my heart start beating faster as I was coaching. My mother has had MS for 30 years, and there have been many emergencies, hospital visits, and even life-support situations over the years.
A version of me 3 years ago would have tried to ignore her calls until I was done teaching — yet be scared & un-present to my teaching the entire time — because I wouldn’t want to come off as unprofessional.
An even older version of myself would have freaked out completely, told the folks on the call that I needed to reschedule, and then go on to deal with whatever was happening.
Last week, instead, at an appropriate pause in between spotlight coaching moments, I let the women on the call know that my parents had called 4 times and that I was concerned enough to feel I should call back, but that it would only take a moment. I asked everyone on the call to hold for just a minute and quickly called my mom. There was a slight emergency situation, but nothing very serious. I was able to get off the phone in under 90 seconds, return to my clients with full presence, and then take care of the situation at an appropriate time.