All of us go through life and we have some embarrassing moments and I want to share with you how I almost didn’t bounce back from one in particular.
As long as I can remember back from when I was a kid, I had moments where I knew I had a performer inside of me. I knew I had a gift and I knew I had a talent.
In the town where I lived I was surrounded by people who were working in the financial district. So it was kind of typical that you would grow up, go to a good college, graduate and then go work in New York City as a financial trader or maybe a mortgage broker or stockbroker.
That was what I saw in my life, and that was what I was modelling – this life of going out and being successful financially in the world as a business person. My dad is an entrepreneur and my mom comes from a very educated background, so I had this model of getting a great education and then going on to be a business person.
I had these fleeting moments when I was a kid and I used to watch Eddie Murphy raw, and I used to imitate some of the scenes. I did this, and I felt like I had a performer in me, but that wasn’t modelled in my environment. The next time I had an opportunity to express this performer was in the 3rd grade where we did this screenplay in class. I created this screenplay in class with two of my friends; it was unbelievable comedy and we had so much fun doing it. I remember time stopping, feeling like I’m having so much fun this doesn’t feel like work! A couple of years later in the 5th grade I played Gandhi in a school play and I remember how much fun I had doing that.
I only recalled this enjoyment in performing later in life. I realised I had had these fleeting moments of wanting to be a performer, wanting to be on stage, wanting to communicate to people.
As time went on, I feel like the possibility and brightness of being a performer faded away.
I grew up and got into the financial world with New York Life insurance company. I went out and started getting clients and being in the business, and I got an opportunity to do seminars. I guess for me, seminars were a way to express myself and perform in a way.
One day, I was going to deliver a talk on financial products to a group of clients. I’d been out that weekend drinking and I probably had about 15 drinks of alcohol in my body.
I walked into the seminar room kind of cocky because I had rehearsed my speech several times, I knew the lines perfectly.
I got up in front of the audience and I started speaking and…I forgot my lines.
I’m talking completely blank. I couldn’t even remember my own name. I didn’t know the next word, I didn’t know what I was going to say next, I didn’t have any flow or know where I was going to go…
I started breaking out in beads of sweat. They started rolling down my forehead and pretty soon, it was like Niagara Falls. I remember I had this light blue shirt on and it was soaking wet within 2 minutes.
I’m trying to speak and I just decided I was going to take a seat in the front row with the clients, and I sat down and was literally watching nobody on stage. You could hear a pin drop in the room.
I don’t know what to say. The clients don’t know what to say! My boss is there and he doesn’t know what to say.
It’s one of the most embarrassing moments ever.
After a couple of minutes of silence, I decide that I’m gonna get back up, get on stage and finish the rest of the talk.
I put my jacket on over my sweaty shirt and I finished the rest of the talk. When I got done I was so mortified I didn’t want to talk to anybody or talk about the experience.
Riding back in the car with my mentor, I pretended I was sick and I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to confront the fact that I had gotten totally drunk that weekend and had forgotten my lines. I was so embarrassed and mortified I didn’t think I could ever give a speech again.
But 2 days later, a realisation came to me that I wasn’t going to go down like this.
I knew that 3 weeks later we were going to be doing another seminar and we had invited that same firm. I knew that it was my moment of redemption. I could rehearse my presentation, learn it, and show up sober and deliver the talk.
And that’s what I did.
3 weeks later I went to deliver the talk. I nailed it, and overcame my fear of getting back on that stage.
If I hadn’t done that, where would I be today?
Maybe I would have given up speaking completely.
I went on and eventually got into the coaching, speaking and seminar business and here I am today. I’m doing seminars and I’m also a performer and I’m now on stage and doing videos like this and I’m speaking in front of hundreds of people across the world. I’m doing what I love, and perhaps that embarrassing moment could have stopped me.
So wherever you are today, if you’ve had an embarrassing moment, now’s the time to look at it and get back on that horse and go, you know what it’s time to trot again. It’s time to race again. It’s time to get back in the game and do it.
And maybe getting back in the game will birth a new passion or new creativeness inside of you that serves humanity.