Meeting Power Plays (3) – ‘Believing’ yourself back to success

Sphere_v2_clown blog iconTanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling.
As they came around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross at an intersection.
“Come on, girl,” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.
Ekido did not speak until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he could no longer restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”
“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”
Some years ago I was listening to fascinating a Radio 4 interview on facial disfigurement. About 15 minutes into the interview, the interviewer asked the question: “How do you cope with other people’s reactions to your disfigurement?”  The interviewee paused for a moment, and asked back at the interviewer: “Do you still see me as disfigured?”.
There was another reflective pause, and the interviewer replied: “You know it is the strangest thing, but I don’t! I mean, clearly you are disfigured but somehow in our conversation I have almost lost sight of the fact.”
The interviewee responded: “That is because in my interactions with you I have allowed you to forget it – I have behaved totally normally and you have responded. The problem comes for the newly disfigured who cannot imagine that other people can see past their scars and therefore respond in a way which reminds people that they are there.”
I thought of some of the people I train in Facilitation, and the way that even small mistakes can ‘take the wind out of their sails’ and damage the rest of the event.
So I thought I would try an experiment. At the start of the second day of a formal training course, I entered the room in full clown regalia – bright suit, red nose, orange wig, and proceeded to undertake a review of the preceding day to flipchart in a totally normal fashion. Within two minutes they were treating me normally and within ten I figured it was safe enough to ask if they still saw me as a Clown.
It turns out that they had already filtered out the clear lack of dress sense and moved onto what was important.
All too often we allow our mistakes to create more damage than they need to.
If we can move past our mistakes quickly, so will our colleagues.
Our thoughts and emotions are ours to control, so we should control them in a way that is most productive to ourselves and your meetings – be master of them, don’t let them be master of us. Act your way through it if you have to, act as though it never happened (after your initial apology of course), and soon you will realise that you don’t have to act any longer – as they say ‘Fake it until you make it’.
You are a valuable person, always! Don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you otherwise. You may see things differently from me, but I believe this is your God-given right!
Perceptions are short lived as long as you do not keep feeding them – Don’t allow them to get in the way of your (immediate and future) potential.

See also What is real deep self confidence?