Since rebranding my business and launching the Engaging Voices podcast, I’ve been doing a ton of networking – everything from phone and video calls to speaking gigs to attending events.
Last week, about 10 minutes before a scheduled video chat with two ladies – Erica and Melissa – I’d yet to meet, a package arrived in the mail. In it a pair of pink sunglasses that I didn’t order. After a quick text to my husband confirming he didn’t order them either, I immediately checked the credit card statement online.
Thrown Off My Game
Sure enough, three charges appeared from online stores that we didn’t order from. (We don’t have kids, so that wasn’t an issue. And while the cats enjoy sleeping on laptops, they aren’t clever enough to shop.)
My heart raced (I felt violated!) and I looked at the clock. Seven minutes until the video chat. Yet I needed to call the credit card company immediately to tell them what happened.
Of course, that call took longer than seven minutes. Feeling frantic now due to fraud and tardiness, I sent an email to Erica and Melissa letting them know that I may be a few minutes late.
One Problem Fixed… Another Arises
Luckily Capital One is helpful and easy to work with. They cleared the charges, empathized, shut down my card and had a new one sent out immediately. The call took about 20 minutes, making me 10 – 15 minutes late for the video chat.
Finally, adrenaline running full speed through my system, I sat down at my laptop and logged into the video chat. As soon as we said hello, the doorbell rang.
I turned to look and saw the electrician. I totally forgot about the electrician. We’d been having trouble with the circuit breaker box and they arrived to fix it. Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, my head fell into my hands and I buried my face in defeat as I told Erica and Melissa what was happening now.
The Courage to Be Vulnerable
I felt so foolish, fretting they’d think I was a flake for not having it together for this video call.
That’s when Erica said in a soft, caring voice, “Stacey, do you want to reschedule?”
For a fleeting moment I thought, No! I can push through.
But, having done enough personal work over the years, I knew better. Showing up distracted and frantic would have been much worse than postponing. So, feeling incredibly vulnerable, I said, “Yes, please and thank you.”
We picked a new date and ended the video meeting.
My shoulders dropped and my breathing normalized. I felt free to focus on what was happening right then in that moment.
A week later, Erica, Melissa and me had the most wonderful conversation and they will be guests on the podcast (Stay tuned!)
Has This Ever Happened to You?
- Are running around juggling multiple projects, clients, priorities, problems, you name it.
- Feel frazzled, unfocused, distracted, defeated, exhausted and unable to think clearly.
- Performance and standards suffer.
- Are not showing up the way you want to show up. (For more on the concept of courage, vulnerability and showing up, check out Brené Brown’s Netflix special – The Call to Courage.)
Showing up as your best self when it counts sometimes means vulnerably acknowledging that “now is not a good time.”
And that takes…
- Having the right people on your team or across the table
Because, let’s face it, I was very lucky in the situation above to have two understanding women on the other end of the video. People who understand that sometimes life happens and that it’s not a reflection of who we are as a person.
People who understand that sometimes, no matter how much we try to put our best foot forward and claim control over a situation, we simply don’t have it together and need a chance to breathe, regroup and refocus.
Erica and Melissa created a space for me to be vulnerable – without judgment. And I am forever grateful.
- Are you surrounded by people who do that for you?
- If you manage people, are you creating an environment for them to be vulnerable without judgment?
The Bottom Line
Numbers are neat, people are…not.
2 + 2 will always equal 4. People come to the table with a lot of “stuff” and, dare I say it, emotion. And that requires a more compassionate and caring approach.
As leaders and business owners, it’s our job to become more self-aware so that we can have more compassion and empathy when interacting with others.
Be like Erica and Melissa.
Yes, please and thank you.
Your Voice Matters. Keep Shining.
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