I have recently taken part, after being nominated, in the 25 push ups campaign for awareness of Depression PTSD, anxiety and suicide prevention. I am not an avid push-upper however I am not one to shy away form a challenge and am going through a particularly interesting time in my life where I am taking stock of many things (ominous I know). True to my word I diligently did my 25 push ups per day, admittedly a little shakily at first, but I fought my way through. Yesterday was day 25, time to celebrate!! Or so I thought. It was not until last night that I was working our dates for meetings and coaching sessions I have coming up that I realised that it was in fact day 24, oh no! Not only had I got the date wrong but the video I posted online with my final day of press ups for this cause was full of celebration, and now I find myself in a sticky position.
Along came this morning and I headed out for my daily walk with my dog Harlow out in the African bush, the set for my push up videos to date. I knew I had to do the final day and put a video up and interestingly, whilst this is a seemingly small situation it has all the potential and accent of a potentially embarrassing one. Now, as mentioned above I have been using these past months to reflect on my life, on what is important, on the direction it is headed. I am 38 and I know I have big things in store, I am now beginning to discover why they have not yet formed in my reality – I’ll save that for another blog post. What is a seemingly innocent situation no presented a dilemma, my posts have gathered some traction since posting them with people around the world cheering me on and liking the posts, messaging me directly – it has been very affirming, and now, I must admit I made a foux pas, the shame. My initial thought process interested me, why is it a big deal, it is not. I am sure as you read this you may be thinking, ‘Come one Stuart, there are much worse things out there’. Whilst I agree with you intelligently in context, the feeling was there. I knew I wanted to the question how would I rectify this mistake?
Outright and clearly is the answer.
I enjoy laughing at myself, it is a great and powerful tool when used correctly. For the sake of prosperity I must say that I do not do it in some pseudo-hiding my real feelings way, I have learnt over the years, mostly from my business leadership and management experience that often things go wrong and the best thing to do is admit mistakes. It is more often that the pool of collective intelligence should be trusted and respected as the authority and any individual mistake or misgiving is forgivable, when free and strong enough to be vulnerable. I was taught a long time ago that saying, ‘I don’t know the answer, what do you think’ is a very powerful tool in any leader’s arsenal. So, I decided to employ a similar approach for this dilemma. I set my phone to record selfie-style, and begin my diatribe about my blunder. I laughed at myself as I shared the update, I even made myself do an extra 5 press ups as punishment.
After this entire ordeal I was curious about my behaviour and though processes through this journey. The conclusion I drew is that I was concerned about what others thought. The mistake did not question my dedication to the cause at hand. All it took was standing up and saying, I made a mistake and here it is. There is such power in that, it demystifies the situation, removes any possible animosity, and levels the playing field. There is great power in being vulnerable, admitting mistakes and trusting those around you to respect that fact that you have.
Very freeing and I highly recommend it.