I screwed up recently.

I was the guest speaker at a networking event. The topic was about story telling in the sales process. Stories were told, hearts were bared, tears were shed and laughter was had.

Then I screwed it up. Properly.

I took it upon myself to say something to someone in the audience – the founder of the network – that was unnecessary and out of context, leaving them feeling hurt, embarrassed and disempowered.

It wasn’t my intention to do this, but I did. Unfortunately I allowed the content of a conversation I had had with the person some weeks before, to spill over into this public space and I thought I could assist this person with a ‘breakthrough’ and coach them and give them ‘on the job’ feedback, when they got up – very bravely – to speak, which was a very challenging concept for them.

I never intended to cause hurt, but I did and these are my reflections:

  • In future I will THINK, and ask myself, “is what I am about to say, True, Honest, Inspiring, Necessary and/or Kind?” In this case, the damage was caused because what I said was not necessary, and that’s what killed it.

  • I like to push boundaries and challenge people and enable them to see their potential, but the context has wrong and I need to be more sensitive to that. I love courage, but sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that courage is about standing up and speaking up. Often it can be about being quiet and sitting down.
  • I did speak to two others who were there, who gave different perspectives, and reminded me that we all see the world differently; they had got great value out of the interaction, uncomfortable as it was.

The impact:

Instead of walking away with a great feeling, empowering others and a bunch of sign-ups for my course and the creation of more opportunities, memories and progress, I walked away leaving upset, sadness and confusion in my wake.

The lessons:

I know everything happens for a reason and for me, the reason as I currently see it, is to learn the lesson of compassion, generosity and being in other’s worlds. I am sure in the end it will prove to be a better result in the long run.

Do you have any stories to share where you screwed up and learned something from it? No sharing, no transformation; I have taken a risk, I invite you to too!

Come to my next free event on 5th July in Cape Town for a great evening of courage, public speaking, storytelling, inspiration and public speaking? The title is: Three reasons you should become a story-teller in all areas of your life or risk oblivion.