My daughter had a big presentation at school at the end of the year. I decided to wear my fancy-schmancy high heel sandals to the ceremony. As I teetered on my 4.5-inch heels, I looked good. Billy Crystal would have been proud.
We walked with purpose across the lawn towards the auditorium since we were running late. Of course, I nearly fell at least three times along the way, but almost doesn’t count, right?
I sat in my seat and gratefully loosened the straps on my shoes. I didn’t need them on my feet to watch the final assembly and beam with pride at my daughter during her two seconds of the two-hour long meeting.
On the way out, I spoke to my daughter’s friend’s parents about upcoming vacation plans as we walked down dozens of steps to get out of the building. Five steps from the bottom the world went into slow motion.
- Ankle turned.
- Railing disappeared.
- The fall.
There I was on the ground with a throng of parents around me asking if I was ok.
Of course, I was ok! I bopped up and gave my thanks for their concern. I spotted my husband and took his arm, and he didn’t have to ask.
“I’m hurt,” I mumbled.
“I know,” he mumbled softly in return.
Funny how I had to be OK. No room to show weakness or that I wasn’t 100%. It’s the same with many of my coaching clients. We dance for the first few sessions as they assure me that they’re good. Really good. Totally and completely good. After a few conversations, and we finally get past the must-be-seen-as to who they really are – human.
I get it if you don’t want to lay at the bottom of the steps in a heap and cry – I didn’t. I also understand if you want to show your strength; your resilience. Still, it doesn’t mean you’re not hurt and need the time to repair and recharge.
Ready to unleash the power of your next stumble?
1) Ask Yourself: Who do you have in your life that you can turn to after a fall and share your pain? Your scuffs and less than perfect bits? If you don’t have someone, find someone. Coach, friend, mentor, spouse; it doesn’t particularly matter. Trust someone and tell them how you feel instead of holding it all inside. Brainstorm, be vulnerable, and take a much-needed deep breath.
2) Don’t hide. You don’t need to hide every stumble and mess up you make. Do you really think everyone thinks you’re so perfect you never have a misstep? When you share your falls and stumbles, not only do people see you as human (because you are) but you also give them permission to do the same.
3) Laugh. Even if you’re still smarting, laugh, giggle, and guffaw. So what that you stumbled? Ready for the big secret of the millennium? Everyone does. Learn to laugh it off instead of yelling, screaming and crying instead.
4) Make a change. I went home and changed my shoes. It’s not that simple to change your direction but making no change at all will create the same results. Pick one thing and start there. Try again, and maybe you’ll stumble again, but maybe you won’t. If you do, go back to #1 and start again.
Do I still wear my rockin’ high heels? You bet. Do I wear them when I know I’ll be walking across fields and up and down countless steps? Come on, you already know the answer… (It’s yes by the way. My change was to learn hold on to someone or the railing) Remember, small changes can yield meaningful results.
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