Facing the (Ugly) Story That's Unfolding In Front of You - Mistakes and Vulnerability
Ok, so I know it was just a football game. And there are so many bigger things at stake in this world, especially right now. But it was a disappointment - and heartbreaking for Vikings fans. (If you aren't a Minnesotan - or if you don't give a rat's arse about the NFL - which is me most of the time - you might not know what I'm talking about...but watch the below video and it will become clear.)
But then I saw this [the video] - and I was wow'd by Blair Walsh's ability to stand in the cavernous space of a mistake, on both feet, and take it in. Own it. Face it. With humility and honesty and courage. I'm not sure how many of us have this kind of courage. So many times, I don't.
Mistakes. They can be so painful. And yes, we all know they're a part of life - but how often has your mistake been broadcast for the world to see? How often has that mistake caused a social media stir and in some cases threats against you? - and yet here he stands.
This is not unlike any of as we stand in front of an audience. We have to accept the possibility that we might make a mistake - and that mistake will be seen. Vulnerability, come hither. Maybe that mistake isn't seen in front of millions of people. But maybe so. (Welcome to the world of the internetty/social-media craze where people seem to relish these moments - as long as they happen to someone else.)
But as a speaker, I know too keenly the feeling of standing in the cavernous hole of your mistake. It can be lonely. And it can be embarrassing. Time slows down, and it can feel like a story, written by someone else, unveiling itself right in front of you, to your horror.
But it's part of the deal, if we want to make great work. And if you don't want to make great work - and give a talk that moves - and make a difference because it might hurt in the process - well, I get that. I do. But here's what I want you to know: if we can stand in that cavernous hole and face the story that is unfolding in front of us - it might be the very thing that connects me to you, and them to us.
Blair - thank you for showing us all what it means to stand in the middle of a terrible story that is unfolding in front of you, and face it head-on. It was an unexpected ending, certainly not the one we wanted. But I have to admit - I kind of like this ending - because of you.