Last week I had a big speaking engagement and as soon I got on stage, I realized something was wrong: My slide remote wasn't working. We'd tested it several times before, but there I was, in front of 600 people, pressing every button possible but unable to advance to my next slide.
Among all things that can go wrong in the world, this was not the worst one, I admit. But I work really hard on making my slides awesome, bold, and engaging. I work even harder on orchestrating them to work together with my talk -- I even have music embedded in some of them that plays at certain key moments. I think of my talk not as a speech, but as an all-encompassing experience for the audience and being able to advance my slides is kind of a necessary ingredient.
My heart dropped when I realized the remote was broken. One of the women who organized the event figured out a way to advance the slides manually, and she and I stumbled for a bit trying to figure out where I wanted to be in the presentation. This was not how I wanted to start my talk. I kept going, but in my mind I was getting deeper and deeper into the Valley of Suffering: the space between how my reality was and how I believed it should have been.
And then, a few minutes later, I had this realization that there was absolutely nothing I could do. I had to do my best with this less than ideal situation and try to do a kick-ass job on my talk. There was no do-over: I had to get my feet under me and my head out of the Valley of Suffering.
So I took a deep breath and did something that surprised me:
I shared with the audience my frustration and disappointment about not being able to deliver the talk the way I wanted.
For a life-long perfectionist like me, this was a huge moment. Not only did I allow myself to embrace my less-than-perfect situation, but I openly shared my feelings with a room full of strangers. I didn't try to pretend that I was unaffected by this mess up. I didn't just glide over it and push my feelings aside. I felt them, embraced them, and shared them openly.
This was freaking scary to do, especially because it was a different way to deal with not being OK than I was used to for most of my life. But it was one of the best things that could have happened and it taught me a powerful lesson, which I share in today's Happier Boost Video below.
I hope you enjoy it and that it gives you a bit of inspiration to embrace your mess ups or less than perfect situations and give yourself permission to share your feelings of not being OK with others.
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