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Failing Big and Publicly

Steve Harvey as emcee for the 2016 Miss Universe pageant inadvertently announced the wrong winner right there live on television. Miss Columbia received the crown, the flowers, the hugs and the tears that come along with being the big winner. Honestly, I don’t really get what these pageants are all about but they seem important to the people involved so, okay. It’s their thing. Anyway, after the commercial break they come back and Steve announces that he made a mistake. He says that, in fact, it is Miss Philippines (or is it Miss The Philippines?) who is the winner. Apparently, he read the wrong name off the cue card. The crown was unceremoniously taken from the Columbian lady and given to The Philippines lady. More flowers and tears and hugs did ensue.

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Regardless of what you think of the validity of the pageant itself, the gaff was by all accounts, a 10 on the Oops Scale. He failed big and publicly and the internet is having a field day with this one as you can probably guess. Lots of memes and tweets and posts followed. However, like most things we poke fun at and parody, a big part of the reaction to his mistake is the mirror into which we do not want to look.

It has been said that most people fear public speaking more than they fear death. Jerry Seinfeld jokes that, at a funeral, people would rather be the guy in the box than the guy giving the eulogy. Funny but almost true. The thing that frightens us about public speaking isn’t really the act of speaking in front of a bunch of people, it’s our deep seated fear of feeling rejected by them and, to go a little deeper, it’s actually the deeper seated fear of the rejection we’d hurl upon ourselves. And there we have it, as Frank Zappa says, the crux of the biscuit.

We don’t like feeling rejected. It is, at the core, a separation from love. So if we don’t like it when one person rejects us we really don’t like it when a crowd of people reject us. So why should we care what other people think? Well, in point of fact, we shouldn’t but we do anyway. It’s one of our human frailties. We seek the approval of others. Yet, we do so largely because we often fail to provide ourselves with the approval we are seeking. We tend to not like those people who act like they are better than us because, deep inside our dark psyche we’re a little afraid that they might be right. Failing publicly puts us in the bullseye of our own self judgment. In other words, our thinking goes this way, “If all those people out there think that I suck then maybe I really do suck.” That’s a lot to process and, generally we would rather not do so and thereby we try to avoid the whole thing by not subjecting ourselves to public speaking.

Do we really want to imagine the self-loathing and humiliating thoughts running through the mind of Steve Harvey, lying in bed that night replaying the incident over and over again in his head? No way! We’d much rather make a joke about it, point the finger away from us and therefore not have to imagine ourselves in a similar situation. We don’t want to imagine looking over Facebook, watching CNN or the endless loop of late night comedians joking about our one tiny little mistake. It would, for a time, be just a little slice of sheer torture.

From a business perspective, the fear of failing big and publicly also happens to be the very same mental/emotional component that prevents most business owners from growing their company. They will say that they need to be cautious in their decision making so as not to create an environment that results in a great loss of profits. On the surface this is absolutely true. No one wants to make a choice that adversely affects their business. But the bigger truth is that owners are actually less fearful of the simple loss of income as they are of the feelings of self judgment and loathing they would hurl upon themselves after making such a mistake. Losing our businesses would indeed suck, yet what would suck more would be our self-flagellation following such a mistake. Most of us simply aren’t that resilient that we could pull a 10 on our own Oops Scale and walk away unscathed. We would want to bury it, avoiding the conversation with our friends and family and putting off looking over the financial statements. We wouldn’t want to suffer that day when we close the door for the last time, turn the key and walk away from the shop with the big OUT OF BUSINESS banner across the front. We dread, even more, all the people who would casually ask us how business is going or, at a dinner party, those asking us what we do for a living and having to talk about what we used to do before we screwed it all up. The self torture we would  undergo wouldn’t come close to the actual real life difficulties of finding employment or handling our business debt. We don’t even want to contemplate the notion of it, visit www.flycarpethawaii.com.

Yet, we all know that the growth of our business requires us to take risks. What few of us understand however are all the demons that are at play when we go to take those risks. Making the right business choice, most times isn’t actually about the right choice at all. It’s about the fear and the dread of making the wrong choice. We tend to focus away from all the potential business growth and learning we would encounter by making one choice and instead spin stories in our head of everything that could possibly go wrong by making any number of other choices. Yes, it’s true that if we don’t choose wisely that  things could go horribly wrong for us. While all that is very real in nature, our hesitations and consternations ultimately all find their way back to our central fear of feeling rejected. In other words, failing big and publicly.

The truth is, ultimately any decision we make will result in a series of consequences that will put us on the path towards one journey or another. We will deal with those things as they happen. Some of the experiences will be joyful and some won’t. It’s a little bit of a crap shoot either way.

I’d like to say that in the bigger picture there really are no “wrong” choices but even while taking the deepest optimistic breath, I can’t really muster that belief without at least something of a caveat. Certainly, if I chose to hire they guy who brought the hockey mask and chainsaw to the interview, I think that would have to count as the “wrong choice.” However, when faced with more equitable choices in business that may either work out or not work out, I’d like to say in that scenario there isn’t much of a wrong choice.

In making my choices and taking my risks in business (and in life) I have found that the greatest tool for effective choosing comes when after all the technical evaluation has been done. With the options in front of me I choose with the understanding that I will treat myself kindly and with deep respect regardless of the outcome. Child psychologists have concluded that spanking children ultimately does not produce the long term positive behavior parents are seeking. It actually just makes kids less confident. The same is true in how we punish ourselves for our adult “bad” behavior. Instead, when we stay kind to ourselves, regardless of our big and public mistakes, we are more encouraged to learn valuable lessons and make better choices the next time around.

Last night, following the pageant, when Steve Harvey went to bed, I’d like to think that he closed his eyes and slept soundly. Today I’d like to think that he was able to look in the mirror and see a good, whole-hearted man standing there looking back it him. I’d like to think that in the days to follow he’ll shrug it all off. I’d like to think all those things happened and will happen in that way because the next time I fail big and publicly I’d like to think I’m going to do all those things too.

The Ego’s Flying Trapeze

Our ego’s primary goal is to maintain its identity. It operates under the belief that it will live forever as long as the ego self is not altered or deconstructed in any way. It therefore must insist upon promoting its own view at all times. The ego works ceaselessly, building stories about the world around it based on the profound experiences of its past. The ego champions only the experiences that support its view and discards all the others. These selected stories of our past become mind movies which play on an infinite loop. We relive them over and over. Thus the ego achieves within us a belief system, the lens through which we view the world. It asserts that these mind movies represent the ultimate and unflappable truth. They cannot be denied. When challenged, the ego will fight to maintain these beliefs at all costs; even killing the body in the process.

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It is important to understand that, at a very deep level, we are absolutely terrified of changing our stories. We have expended a great deal of energy creating and supporting these stories. They have served us almost all our lives by providing a simple structure for how to exist in the world. We therefore approach the idea of change (any change) with a great deal of resistance. Ironically we put up the greatest resistance to change in the very moments when we claim to be absolutely committed to change. How often have we seen friends and associates setting out to change some aspect of their lives only to later watch them resist and sabotage the very changes they claim they wish to make?

To our ego, this is not a fight. It is simply a matter of survival. Like booting up a computer, humans come into the world with a preset operating system. The most core part of that operating system is squarely focused on survival. The human animal is programmed to survive at all costs. When people are over exposed to the cold, our bodies will shut down blood supply to the extremities, sacrificing the hands and feet to preserve the core. In the same way, the ego will sacrifice our opportunities for growth and development to preserve its own core. It only knows itself in the now; incapable of understanding the value of short term discomfort for long terms gains.

In stepping forward to become greater versions of ourselves, we enter into an ego struggle. We push at its very will for self-preservation. The ego goes on high alert, sounding a klaxon, warning us to resist any and all changes. It plays mind movies, showing scenes of our decimation, humiliation and doom. It works nonstop to scare us back into emotional homoeostasis where it believes we are safe.

It is in this ego struggle where our growth potential begins. Here, we are like the practicing trapeze artist who must summon the courage to let go of one bar, leap through the air and have the faith that the next trapeze bar will be there for him to grab. The ego doesn’t like this at all. It assures us that such a move will result in our body’s destruction, but really it’s most concerned about its own destruction. In truth, a part of ourselves (our “self”) does end when we stretch out to become greater beings.

The question then becomes, what part of us are we willing to let die? How do we surrender to the unknown? Indeed, becoming a better version of ourselves does sound enticing but then what happens to the version we are today? How do we let go of the trapeze bar when everything within us is saying, hold on tighter? How do we enter into the willingness to die and be reborn? How do we update our belief systems, our dramas and traumas, our roles as victim or villain, our ideal selves as hero or destroyer? The answer may indeed be more puzzling than the question.

It begins with wiping clean the white board of our existence. To find house cleaning service in Colorado visit cleanqueendenver.com. We stand willing to put into question every known quantity of our lives. Our concepts of love, kindness, hurt and pain become variables that shift back and forth while they undergo a reexamination. Most of all, we must first accept that we are choosing to awaken from the confining dream of ego-as-a-permanent-self. Instead, we make the absolute commitment to live life in the realm of being open, honest and vulnerable at all times. We stand at the precipice of our known universe and choose to step off. Visit International Federation for Choral Music website.

It is at this exact point where many people end their spiritual path. They return to the comforting and secure world that the ego has built for them and never venture forward again. If that is your choice, honor it.

If instead you do choose to move forward into the unknown then you need to strike a deal with the part of you that makes decisions. You need permission from the “you” who decides what information to let in and what information to reject. You must ask it to trust that a new way of being will not be its end, but instead a great continuation of itself. You make that request of it daily, hourly and sometimes in every moment. You align yourself with it, check out www.adl-usa.com/ for more info. You engage in bold acts of new consciousness to teach it that the ideas and actions it has feared are actually the very things that will bring it what it truly wants. It’s a new kind of security that only comes from accepting that fear and uncertainty are now your best allies.

Together you move forward in a new enhanced ego self. You swing back and forth on the trapeze bar of your universe, gaining greater momentum. At the apogee of your forward swing you let go of the bar and fly into the void. There you are, spinning mid air, existing in the uncertainty and wonder of whether you will fall to your death or whether the next trapeze bar will be there when you reach forward to grasp it. What happens next is nothing short of spellbinding.

Play Ball!

If baseball players played baseball the way that most business owners do their marketing they would be running out onto the field swinging a couple of bats, kicking a ball, jumping up and down on the bases, and trying to put their gloves on their head. They would have a rough idea about how the game is played but they would be going about it all wrong. What they would be missing would be rules and strategy.

Your marketing approach must have a strategy behind it or you will be haphazardly using the tools of marketing in completely the wrong way. When I begin working with client I learn specifically what they’re struggling with in their business and what they want to achieve so I can design a marketing strategy specifically for them. So, you can be laser focused on winning the game while all the other teams are just playing with their balls.

How we STOP ourselves from success.

Most everything that we struggle with in business and in life is a story that we tell ourselves. It’s a story of what we think might happen and unfortunately, it’s usually a pretty bad story.

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There are very few things that we struggle with that are actually taking place in the moment. Our struggles mostly live in the future or the past. Sure, it might seem like the struggle is happening in the moment when your boss comes in telling you that a report needs to be on his desk in an hour and you’re sure then it will take two hours to complete. Isn’t that happening in the moment? Actually, no. It isn’t.

What is actually happening in the moment is that you are running a little movie in your head. This movie is set in the future, one hour from now. In it, the main character, you, walks into your boss’s office and tells him that the report is not done. Then the boss flies off the handle, fires you and you end up living under a bridge or something like that.  But none of that is really happening at all. All that is really happening in the moment is that there is a task to complete. Nothing more. So why do we get so effected? It is because the emotional part of our brain takes all of its cues from the intellectual part of our brain. The emotional part doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality. When you run the little movie about you getting fired your emotional brain thinks that it’s actually happening.

The other movie that often gets run is one that takes place in the past. In that movie, your boss, a high school football coach, your mother or father or any other number of people jibe and harangue you for making a mistake. That movie has him imprinted a powerful emotion we call shame. It feels bad and we want to avoid repeating it at all costs. Therefore, we run the movie of the past as a cautionary tale for what we might encounter in the near future.

Regardless of which or both movies get screened, the result is the same. A series of biological triggers occur in your body like an emotional avalanche. You go into fight or flight mode. Your heart rate increases, your eyes dilate, you are flooded with adrenaline. All of this shuts down the creative pipeline that feeds ideas to your consciousness. The movies overwhelm and short circuit all of your other thoughts. Now, your ability to invent creative solutions to your problems is squeezed off like kinking a garden hose.

So, why does this have to happen at all? What is the point? Why do we do this to ourselves? This whole process is actually the body and mind attempting to predict dangerous situations so it can prepare you for the proper response. The problem is that the human software running this program was written about 3 million years ago. It was originally designed to anticipate things like avoiding saber tooth tigers. Back then those were really big problems for people. Today, we rarely encounter situations today that put our life in immediate danger but the software doesn’t know that. So when it signals a danger response, it is literally placing you in what feels like a life or death situation.The irony in all of this is that, when you think back on all of those stories you have told yourself, you will discover that no more than 10% of them come true. Things most often times work out. Not all the time, but they do most of the time. So freaking yourself out is like betting the farm on a longshot that time and again has never come through. It’s a bad bet and you really need to stop placing it.

By bringing your self back into the conscious moment, you recognize that nothing is actually happening right then. This allows you to calm yourself down and re-open the creative centers of your mind. In doing so you will suddenly find new and unrealized solutions for the problems at hand. It is entirely likely that one hour is all you need to complete that report hughesairco.com. Perhaps someone else in the office has knowledge that could reduce the time it takes or, maybe a few of your friends can pitch in and help you completed in time. Yet, none of these solutions would ever occur to you when your body is in fight or flight mode.

The hbcontrols business people choose a meditation practice or take a walk outside during lunch. This seemingly wasteful use of time actually propels they’re thinking forward allowing them 360° views of the problems they face in their business.

Remember these two truths:

  • The scary stories we tell ourselves about our past is shame.
  • The scary stories we tell ourselves about our future is stress.

Neither are real. All that is real is what is happening in your present moment. Do your best to keep yourself there. You will find that it is a much more tangible place where are only real things exist. For example, in this present moment you have just read the last word of this article.