Forecast Says...

See ya this Friday” are the last words spoken as the phone call ends. You have just talked with a friend to finish planning an annual long-weekend fishing trip up north.

A checklist, more mental than physical, has been discussed at least twice in the last couple of days, and now the countdown begins through the last week before The Trip. It’s what you think of each morning when you wake and each night when you turn out the light. You’ve heard the fishing is so good that it will be hard not to catch fish, and as anticipation builds for this much-needed getaway, it is difficult to contain your excitement. That excitement, and years of experience with these annual trips, convinces you that everything is ready and nothing has been overlooked.

Storm Clouds

It’s 5 AM as your buddy closes the door to your truck. After a good-morning handshake, you shift into drive and The Trip finally begins. It is not long before a comment is made about the dense fog, but not much is thought of it even though the gloom burns off much later than normal.

With so much catching up and shop talk, it is three hours before it’s quiet enough to hear the radio. The music ends and the DJ says “stay tuned for news of the upcoming storm.” The truck becomes silent, as both of you internally, silently scream “NOOOOOO!!” After the commercial break the meteorologist reports a storm front over the Atlantic has turned east, bringing torrential rains for most of the weekend. The weather forecast ends with a small craft advisory.

Well this is a first. Who would have thought that the weather on The Trip would be anything less than favorable? For as many years back as memory serves, this weekend has always been beautiful, and what it will be like now just doesn’t seem to compute: this has never happened before. The plan is changing quicker than it began, regardless of all the preparation.

Accurate Predictions

Checking the weather forecast is something most of us do often, almost without thought. Why do we seek this information daily, even several times a day? What hangs in the balance that could make this information so crucial? Our lives are fairly straight forward, simple even, but that forecast has a power that draws us each day like a kid to a mud puddle. I find it odd that even if the forecast is totally wrong, we are back at it again tomorrow, checking in with Chief Meteorologist Mr. Could B. Wright as if we were checking our stock prices.

Meteorologists have quite the task: forecast the upcoming weather with a reasonable degree of accuracy, then deliver that information in such a way that a meteorology degree is not needed to comprehend it. This doesn’t seem all that difficult… right? (I wonder if the forecast would be more dependable if their pay was pro-rated on accuracy?)

There is a lot to be learned thinking about the science (or art) of forecasting. Who would want that job, predicting something that is so intangible, so unstable? It may seem like a stretch to think that you would ever, under any circumstances, accept that position. But have you ever considered what forecasting can do when applied to your life or business?

Looking Ahead

Every day in some form we should try to forecast the next couple of days, weeks or even months, so that the results we seek might be achieved, and those we don’t seek are not a surprise.

To some degree we do this, but how often? The weather for the fishing trip had always been favorable, which in our minds made a forecast seem unnecessary. But even if everything is going well, isn’t the need for forecasting still there?

Tomorrow when you check the weather forecast, check your personal or business forecast too. With practice this gets easier, and these forecasts will have a far greater impact on the quality of your life than the weather!