An Airborne Couch and Creative Solutions
Picture this: You’re enjoying an iced coffee on a warm Sunday morning in mid-September. Suddenly, you see a couch resting precariously on the ledge of a second-floor terrace across the street. Before you can do a double take, you hear a loud thud and the couch is gone. This is what my neighbors got to witness recently when I moved out of my apartment. While I can’t say I loved watching my couch go airborne off my stoop, it turns out that the experience was actually one that my job at Nest semi-prepared me for. And as I write this blog post from the couch in question, you can rest assured that it all worked out in the end.
My role at Nest is Strategic Marketing Manager, which I plan and problem solve a lot. I was happy that accepting the job gave me a reason to move to Charlottesville from Northern Virginia. Like a true strategist, I planned as much of my move as possible by making lists for all the tasks to be done and potential challenges I foresaw. The only obstacle I could not solve ahead of time was the couch. Because of my apartment’s entryway, small front terrace, and location on the second floor, getting the couch moved in originally was a headache. It only happened because several delivery men hoisted it up over the terrace ledge and pushed it through the door. So I knew getting it out would be just as difficult. I came up with two potential solutions:
- If it was angled just right, I felt there was a 50/50 chance of getting it down the steps in one piece.
- If not, we’d have to push it over the ledge the way it came in and accept the loss.
Unfortunately, after exhausting all angles, I knew there was zero chance of option No. 1 working. Before committing to option No. 2, I thought about having two people try to “catch” it from below. But unless one of us was The Rock (not the case, unfortunately), the drop to the ground made it too unsafe. Instead, I put my queen-sized mattress on the ground to break the couch’s fall. Not the most fine-tuned plan, but it was a dire situation. Finally, the couch took the leap!
While the mattress definitely helped, the couch bounced and one corner hit the ground. However, once the dust settled, I realized it was still in one piece! Sure, there was a mark or two, but nothing a strategically placed throw blanket couldn’t hide. I laughed and wondered how that “plan” actually worked. Well, that’s what brings me to my point. I’ve found that it’s often the times when you have less freedom and resources, whether professionally or personally, that spur the most creativity. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all.
While coming up with strategic plans and solutions to challenges is a regular part of my job, there are times where planning and preparing just won’t work. See: my couch story. In these moments, it’s best to simply accept that you can’t control everything (which is hard for people like me!), stay flexible, stay optimistic, and do what you can. One thing I love about my job is that every challenge is different, which I think has helped me when it comes to planning…and accepting things I cannot plan. Because even if I think I’ve got a strategy for something, things change and new obstacles arise. Maybe the market shifts. Maybe the pandemic changes. Maybe clients want something new. These challenges keep me on my toes and teach me how to be more adaptable. It’s best to roll with the punches and not be afraid to toss a couch off a second-floor terrace.
At the end of the day, some risks are worth taking—sometimes calculated and sometimes blindly. A crazy idea just might work. Other times, it won’t. But no matter how it turns out, it’s always a learning opportunity. Every failure is still a chance to learn and make notes for next time. Maybe next time, I’ll think twice about buying furniture that barely fits through the only entrance to my home. And take it from me: When you do commit to a crazy idea, always be sure to have your camera at the ready for what will surely make for some great content.