Almost everyone can name their most embarrassing moment. We all go through life and experience our own awkward moments, and it doesn’t just happen once. When you’ve been embarrassed, it can be a struggle to move forward from the incident.
Most of us don’t realize something, however. Our most embarrassing moment can actually be our turning point to a higher path. I want to share with you how I almost didn’t bounce back from one moment in particular, and how I found myself back on track after an awkward moment.
The Story of My Most Embarrassing Moment
My Childhood Background
— Ted McGrath (@ted_mcgrath) May 10, 2018
As long as I can remember, back from when I was a kid, I had moments when I knew I had a performer inside of me. I knew I had a gift and a talent.
In the town where I lived, the people who surrounded me worked in the financial district. It was typical for everyone to go to a good college, graduate, then work in New York City as a financial trader, a mortgage broker, or a stockbroker.
That was what I saw in my life, and it was what I modeled. It was a life of financial success as a business person. My dad is an entrepreneur and my mom came from a very educated background. So, I had them as role models. They did their best to show me the merits of getting a great education and then going on to business.
How I Knew I Wanted to Be on Stage
When I was a kid, I had these fleeting moments. I used to watch Eddie Murphy Raw and imitate some of the scenes. When I did this, I felt like I had a performer in me, but it wasn’t modeled in my environment.
The next opportunity I had to express my performer side happened in 3rd grade. I created this screenplay in class with two of my friends. It was an unbelievable comedy, and we had a lot of laughs doing it. I remember stopping and thinking, “I’m having so much fun this doesn’t feel like work!”
A couple of years later in 5th grade, I played Gandhi in a school play and remember how much I enjoyed doing that. Only later in life did I recall this joy in performance. I realized I had experienced these fleeting moments of wanting to be a performer. I wanted to be on stage and to communicate with people.
As time went on, I felt the possibility and brightness of being a performer fade away.
My Most Embarrassing Story: I Was at a Loss for Words
I grew up and went into the financial world with New York Life Insurance Company. There, I acquired clients and conducted seminars. In a way, facilitating those seminars allowed me to express myself and perform.
One time, I was set to deliver a talk on financial products to a group of clients. The weekend before the talk, I went out drinking and had about 15 drinks.
Then… I forgot my lines.
I’m talking about going completely blank. I couldn’t even remember my own name, let alone what I was going to say next. There wasn’t any flow in my head, and I didn’t know what I’m going to do.
I started breaking out in beads of sweat. It was worse than freezing up during high school speeches. They rolled down my forehead and pretty soon, it was like Niagara Falls. I remember I had a light blue shirt on, and it was soaking wet within two minutes.
I tried to speak, but I just couldn’t, so I sat in the front row with our clients. We were all sitting down and no one was up on stage. It’s as if I went into America’s Got Talent without any prior rehearsal. It was very awkward. You could hear a pin drop in the room.
We were all at a loss for words — me, our clients, and even my boss who was also there! It was an embarrassing situation that I found myself in.
It was one of the most embarrassing moments ever!
Devastated After My Most Embarrassing Moment
After a couple minutes of silence, I decided I was gonna get back on stage and finish the rest of the talk.
I put my jacket on over my sweaty shirt and went through my talk. After I finished, I was so mortified I didn’t want to speak with anybody or acknowledge the experience. When faced with an embarrassing situation such as this, people tend to just shut down. Happened to me.
Riding back in the car with my mentor, I pretended I was sick and I didn’t want to talk about it. It was kind of the first time I found myself in an embarrassing situation like this. I didn’t want to confront the fact I had gotten very drunk the weekend before and forgot my lines. It was so embarrassing and mortifying. I thought I could never give a speech again.
Bouncing Back After My Most Embarrassing Moment
Two days later, a realization came to me: I wasn’t going to go down like this. Embarrassment can take a walk, I thought.
I knew in three weeks we were going to conduct another seminar, and we had invited the same firm. It was my moment of redemption. I could rehearse my presentation, learn it, and show up sober to deliver the talk and that’s what I did. Three weeks later, I went to deliver the talk. I nailed it and overcame my fear of getting back on stage.
If I hadn’t done that, where would I be today? I would have given up on speaking completely.
What This Embarrassing Story Gifted Me
Today and everyday, I’m inspired to share my life story and how it led me to building my own motivational speaking brand 💯 https://t.co/SHjfpG6q2f #challenge #motivational #successtips #goals #inspiration #TedMcGrath pic.twitter.com/7BKPu2p6CN
— Ted McGrath (@ted_mcgrath) March 27, 2018
I moved on and got into coaching, speaking, and running a seminar business. Here I am today.
I conduct seminars, and I’m also a performer. I act on stage, I do my own videos, and I speak in front of hundreds of people across the world. I’m very happy to say that now, I’m doing what I love and my embarrassing moment didn’t stop me.
After I bounced back from my moments of embarrassment, I was able to live the life I’ve dreamed of. Watch this video from my YouTube channel to learn more:
Wherever you are today, if you’ve had your most embarrassing moment, now is the time to bounce back and move forward. It’s time to shake off your embarrassment and get back in the game because until you try, you’ll never know what’s going to happen. Who knows — getting back in the game might give birth to a new passion to serve humanity.
Do you have your own most embarrassing moment? I’d love to know how you learned from your experience! Share it with me in the comments section below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 17, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.