How would you like to be filmed and recorded for several days--meditating, working, teaching, practicing aikido--while being interviewed on how to manage conflict and difficult conversations?
It was tempting, I have to say, to take myself a little too seriously. How does my hair look? Is the makeup right? What should I wear? And then afterwards... I shouldn't have worn that shirt. What was I thinking? And... Did I say how important it is to stay focused on Purpose? What did I forget?
Taking Myself Less Seriously
When Harvard Business School Publishing asked to film me a few months ago, I was honored and delighted. They wanted a 2-minute video that would engage their management audience in the question: Why is learning to manage difficult conversations a key leadership skill? This is something I speak about everyday, and I said yes.
It didn't occur to me that vanity might play a part. Even though the final video would be short, hours of film and audio were required to achieve the desired result, including warming up, putting on my hakama, bowing on and off the mat, and teaching a workshop.
Oh, that little voice ... You look silly. You look unprofessional. You sound tired, dull, unconvincing.
The inner critic was on high alert--no, on steroids.
From Perfection to Discovery
I took refuge in Tom Crum's Perfection/Discovery Model. Every time I caught myself in Perfection Mode, I'd smile, jump into Discovery, and change my thinking. I'd look for something to be grateful for or I'd watch the filmmakers deeply involved in their work, and I became less serious and more playful.
I did a lot of jumping, I admit, and that's the practice--the awareness that by changing my mind I change my reality.
Fortunately, I was working with professionals who also operated in Discovery Mode. Cary and Yari Wolinsky, father and son owners of Trillium Studios, made the experience fun and fascinating. That's the three of us in my office in the main photo.
The finished video will be online this spring and with our combined expertise I know I'll come away feeling great. Plus, in the process, I got to practice returning to Center and Discovery over and over again. How great is that?!
How about you?
Are you in judgment today--of yourself or someone else? Do you spend your life energy trying to control everything and everyone? As Tom Crum says, "begin to turn fear into fascination." Shift from "How can I be perfect?" to "What can I learn?" When you do, everything changes. You'll lighten up, take yourself less seriously, and find out how easy life can be.
Do you have a similar inner self-defense tool that helps you shift your mindset when you're taking yourself too seriously? How do you practice?