I must learn to love the fool in me
I must learn to love the fool in me –
the one who feels too much, talks too much,
takes too many chances, wins sometimes
and loses often, lacks self-control,
loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt,
promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries.
THEODORE ISAAC RUBIN
How capable at laughing at yourself are you really?
I think the ability to laugh at oneself comes over time. Perhaps it requires a few successes under one’s belt to be capable of being comfortable with the complete and total gaffes we are so capable of making.
I had a perfect example last week. I was busy getting my elements in place for my day, checked my phone, saw my appointment was coming up, went to the link and waited for a call to come on What’sApp. While I waited the 30 seconds for the call to arrive, I was thinking, “Why do they want to do this interview on a phone instead of video?” It didn’t make sense, but shortly, I was on the call with the lady who had graciously set it up, and she merged another gentleman into the call. I was thinking, who is this guy? We start talking and she asks me questions and I respond as the CEO of Sizzle. Eventually, the man asks how much money Illusion Factory generates. I am thinking, why is he asking me this on a media interview. I successfully dodge the question by sharing that we have generated more than $100 Billion for our clients, so we must be doing something ok. But then he counters and asks, are you looking for an investment? I am really wondering why he is asking this in a media interview, and I responded… “I would be happy to discuss this with you on a non media interview.” To which, the woman who set the call, said… Brian, do you know what call you are on?
OMFG. THIS IS A CALL WITH A VERY SUBSTANTIAL INVESTOR. MY TOTAL MISTAKE!!!!!
I started to laugh. And I owned it right then and there. I explained what call I thought I was on, apologized profusely and changed the nature of my responses to the appropriate tone of the call. We all got a good laugh. I do not know if I killed the investment opportunity or not. It really doesn’t matter. But it was one of the largest gaffes I have made in years.
One week later, I am still laughing at myself. And the media interview I thought I was on last week, is coming up in an hour.
We try our very best to be perfect. To be the role model. To demonstrate all that we expect of others by walking the walk ourselves. The truth is that we are so far from perfect as to be really laughable. Everyone is. Even the ones who seem as close to perfect as would be expected. In that imperfection lies our humanity. Our inner being. Our inner child.
I did not know the expression inner child or universal parent a few decades back. As I became aware of that particular nomenclature for those beings within ourselves, I became acutely aware of both of them. My inner child wants to play, to create, to explore, to be impetuous, to take risks, to go for it with everything. My universal parent keeps that child in line. It allows that child to do what it wants (mostly) and tempers that effort by staying on top of what that child can get us both into. The universal parent is the one that wakes me up at 5AM to go to the gym or take a hike. It is the one that sets up meetings with investors. It is the one that scolds the inner child for not being as prepared as it should have been for that phone call.
Life well-lived requires both of them to be in full harmony. If the universal parent always wins, life is droll and boring. If the inner child always wins, you will not get to where you are going, even if you are having a lot of fun along the way. It requires the yin/yang.
I will never get that opportunity with that investor back again. I hope he sees me as a full human, capable of a totally laughable mistake, as well as being a CEO capable of inventing one of the most important new paradigms of this decade. If he does, we both win. If he does not, I still win. I may not have his investment, but I still have me…. Good and bad. Flawed and sparkling.
More than anything else, you just have to keep showing up. You have to keep going for it with all you have. And you have to nurture that inner child, because it will always tell you when you are really seriously unhappy and what it needs to make it feel harmonious again. You may not always wish to feed your inner child whatever it demands, but you are very well served to listen carefully to it. If not, you will pay a severe price at a later date that could well have been avoided, had you taken a few minutes to remember you are human. Flaws and all.
Get a good laugh at yourself. It actually feels great!