It’s hard to teach. Your mental pistons are running full bore, thinking of the points you need to make next, the orderly progression of presenting those thoughts, while picking up cues from the room. While speaking cogently. Your mind is 2 steps ahead of your mouth. Or fingers.
And then you make a mistake. Verbally you said something that once uttered cannot be retracted. Or as in my case, clicked the wrong button in a virtual environment, and poof, without thinking and not being in the moment, you did something you wish you had not.
In the spotlight in a way that will not lessen. Feeling the searing heat of the moment even more.
But you have to pick up the pieces (what’s left of them) and move along.
Yup, that happens to all of us. It happened to me last week in a virtual session I was giving.
I goofed, badly, by clicking a button orally demonstrating something on LinkedIn and in fact, I wiped out a section of my Experience on my profile.
Yes, I had a backup copy so I was able to later reconstruct my profile. Lesson opportunity: back it up!
But my show went on. All the while I was mentally planning how to rebound.
Nervous chatter, I am sure on my part, as I thought out loud.
I am better than that, I kept telling myself, screaming silently at myself. How could you have done that? And in front of so many people who came to you to learn? What type of example is that making you? I exited perhaps not as gracefully as I wanted to, and immediately walked myself through the changes I planned to make to that section anyway. Then restored my profile, saved it in a new backup, and even put myself through a trial run so I can sprint the next time I have to demo that section.
OK. Humans err. We handle it in different ways. I have made many errors in many contexts in my professional life. I lived through them and in retrospect, I can report I learned from every one of them.
But what relieved me most surprisingly were the comments I received from the audience: support, empathy, rooting for me.
That’s when you know you are still ahead in your game, even if it is only one step back to take two forward. Any of us can easily stumble, yet we must pick ourselves up and keep running with the ball.
It’s always been my goal to keep ahead by 2 or more (!) steps all the time. Not some of the time.
I am still learning, he said humbly.