When I was in St. Louis for the International Coach Federation Conference, I started off the week having dinner with 2 wonderful people / colleagues / friends. I posed a question to them which was easy enough to ask but not necessarily easy to answer. The question was “What was your most embarrassing moment?”
Now these are moments in our lives when we are mortified to have said something, done something, or circumstance put us in positions of total “I wish a hole would open up and swallow me” feelings. The reason why I had brought it up was it was a question I often ask clients. Why, you ask? Because once they start sharing it and verbalizing it, more often than not, they start laughing about it and its power no longer has a hold on them other than one of a distant memory.
It’s quite amazing. What we might have hidden for years suddenly becomes a source of amusement.
So I ask you…what was your most embarrassing moment?
I’ll start off with sharing 2 of mine. Two, because the first was the most embarrassing until the second happened! You’ll understand once I share them with you.
I broke the front door of the parliament buildings here in Ottawa.
Now can you picture how embarrassing that would have been to have pushed the door opened with my hand only to have it go THROUGH the glass of the front door? To make matters worse, at the time they couldn’t find a first aid kit so I was bleeding on the front steps of the Parliament Buildings. A special moment, I can assure you. One of those wanting a hole to open up and swallow me moments.
The second, which topped that one (yes, it’s possible) was the following…
I was sitting in a restaurant waiting for one of my oldest friends (45 years and counting : ) to show up as he was taking me out for my birthday lunch. He is always late so I took his being late in stride. The waiter kept coming over feeling very bad for me. I assured him it was something I was used to and took out my BlackBerry to catch up on messages. Now this friend had a dog, one of my favourite dogs, a long haired Belgian Shepherd and he was getting old and sick and my friend told me he had to go at the end of the week to sign the papers to have him euthanized as there was no other choice. I emailed my son from my BlackBerry giving him a heads up that our friend had to do this to which Mike replied “Oh no! Why?” to which I replied “Because he’s old, his back has gone, he’s losing control of his bodily functions and it’s time to have him put down. There’s no other choice”.
Now what all BlackBerry owners should know is that emails come into the unit in real time, so when I pressed reply it didn’t go back to my son. It went to my client’s executive assistant. My client just happened to have been out sick that day with a bad back. Need I say more?
Within seconds a response came back from her saying “You’re going to have him killed because he has a bad back? And what’s with this bodily functions thing?”
Within a minute or so (as she of course forwarded this to my client’s Berry) I got a phone call on the same unit saying “YOU’RE HAVING ME PUT DOWN BECAUSE I’M OLD AND MY BACK IS OUT? And there is NOTHING wrong with my bodily functions thank you very much!”
Good thing this wasn’t a new client. Embarrassed? Just a bit you think? Now we laugh about it. I no longer automatically press reply on my BlackBerry! That taught me a lesson or two!
…..A now smiling