I just got back from my first trip to China. I was there helping launch our Leading Out of Drama program through a new partnership with First Priority Consulting, one of China’s premier training companies.
The night before my departure I was checking in online for my flight to Bejing. I was asked for my passport, which I submitted. Then I was asked for my visa, which came as a total shock to me. I was completely unaware of the need for a visa, and did not have one. Panic!
I did some quick online searching and confirmed that indeed, a visa was required, and that there were no options for getting one in a few hours. More panic!
Feeling desperate, I texted Jeremy, the owner of First Priority and my host in China. I expected that the trip would have to be rescheduled until I could obtain a visa, meaning a series of costly consequences for everyone involved. Even more panic!
An hour later I received a Skype call from Jeremy. His voice was calm and reassuring, he empathized with my anxiety, and was ready to problem-solve. He promised he and his team would work with me to get through this together.
Fast forward two hours. Jeremy discovered a brand new provision just instituted in China; the 144 hour transit pass. This life-saving rule allows foreigners to spend up to 144 hours in China, visa-free, as long as they are continuing on to a third destination upon departure. While this rule let me off the hook on the visa issue, it did require some rapid re-scheduling of flights. Jeremy and his team of travel specialists set aside time in their day to help with all the arrangements so that I could still make my trip and fulfill the mission.
Although the crisis was averted, my negative feelings were not gone. I felt angry at myself for missing this critical detail. I felt embarrassed for my naive arrogance. As an American I can travel most places without a visa, so I just assumed without checking.
Despite my blunder, Jeremy and his team at First Priority showed me the real meaning of compassion – to struggle with others in a spirit of dignity. No guilt trips, no passive-aggressive comments, no questioning of my integrity or commitment. Just caring, creative, and consistent effort to work together for the greatest success of our mission.
Thank you Jeremy, for embodying the spirit of Compassionate Accountability. We are grateful for your partnership and look forward to many years of Leading Out of Drama programs in China.
Have you ever had a person like Jeremy in your life? Have you ever been that kind of person for someone else? Will you share your story of the transformational power in compassionate accountability?