We have all had that moment. The moment where we wish we were well known and did not feel like another face in the crowd. For some people it is a brief thought. For others, they spend their life yearning to fulfill this desire. We all desire to build an audience. Just that one chance to be on the main stage. Well, I have good news. Don't worry. One way or the other, we will all stand out at one time or another and build an audience with a quickness.
But what do you do when you have a "moment"? That awkward moment where you stand out in an undesirable way. The moment when you said or did something so out of character that later on you could not believe it was you that actually did it. Things like saying something hurtful without realizing the situation first, maybe messing up in a big business meeting, or dropping your food on the floor in front of everyone. Now how many of us have done that one? Worst of all, word spreads fast and then everyone knows. Almost everyone deals with these moments, actually we all do. The ones who won't admit it are...you guessed it...liars. I have been on both ends of this scenario, probably more times than I would like to admit.
You go home that night still full of embarrassment, wondering how you could have done that thing. You toss and turn in the bed wondering how everyone is going to react to you tomorrow. You might even have a nightmare about the experience. You wake up the next morning dreading the day ahead. You go in the bathroom and look in the mirror in disgust. You still cannot believe what happened. You feel emotions such as embarrassment, guilt, and maybe even shame. You just want to crawl back in the bed. But wait a minute, don't do that. There is some good news for you.
I learned a few things that made those feelings go away before you have to sleep on it that night. So here goes:
1.) Just deal with it: Get on the phone or the computer. Make sure you contact some of the people that saw or heard about the encounter, and just let them get it out of their system. Let them get a laugh, and be done. If it happened to make anyone mad, contact them and bring it up immediately. Let them yell at you and be done with it. It is going to happen sooner or later, so just deal with it.
2.) Make a big joke before they do: I am not the biggest fan of poking fun at myself, but for some it does wonders. I have seen some people repeatedly joke about one of those moments to the extent they break new ground with people they never knew before. It brings out the person's sense of humor so much that people just love being around their new found personality. I have seen people walk up to someone they did not know and ask, "Do you remember that time I (fill in the blank)? Now that is leveraging a bad situation. They took a situation that should have made them clam up, and used it as icebreakers to engage in conversations. They used their own misfortune to create commonality between other people.
3.) Know You are Not Alone: If you decided to make everyone that had one of those moments join your club, everyone would be a member. Everyone will have one of those moments eventually. Usually the ones making the jokes (or getting mad) have already had a moment like this. Realize that now they are just on the other end of the joke.
Despite the way it made you feel, no one could have done that moment as well as you did. It could not be rehearsed or duplicated. Most importantly, don't sweat it. Don't go to bed at night with a feeling of regret. Confront it. If you are ever going to be successful at anything, you better learn this quality fast. Moments can stop you, especially when you make a bigger deal about it than anyone else. We all have those moments. The moments when we feel like everyone is staring at us after what we did. No one usually cares enough to make more than one comment about it anyways, so loosen up. Even though you are in the spotlight now, you will lurk back into the crowd before you know it. You will probably have another moment later on with a brand new audience.
Don't let those moments make you freeze. Don't let those moments define your character. Strangely enough, if you face the music with this, it usually makes people inquisitive on why you handled it this way. It will intrigue them how you could have done such a thing, and still be exuding with confidence. Moments like these can be a real growing experience for us if we learn how to embrace the opportunity. Like it or not, life is going to deal us these moments. We can take them a lot easier than leaving them.