I really appreciate it when a performer of the highest standard stumbles during a performance. It shows their intensity, passion and commitment to what they are trying to create.
This is why I love coaching high performing individuals; people who are committed to a vision and really put their all into achieving it.
These are the kind of individuals who aren’t afraid to stumble. They appreciate that mistakes are part and parcel of the journey to greatness.
When I think of stumbling and getting things “wrong”, I’m as prone as anyone to worry. But then I remember that a mistake is just a moment that didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. But who am I to dictate how things should be?
If we can relinquish control and let our lives unfold moment to moment without interfering, we might find a newfound freedom and strength. We might finally dare to be real in the face of an unforgiving narcissistic society hellbent on perfection.
That’s why, when I coach high performers in communication and presence, I mostly find myself teaching the power of vulnerability. More accurately put; the strength of character to let go of perfection and allow yourself to make a mistake without apology or shame. Because it is only through our so-called mistakes that we can discover our own genius.
It therefore follows that vulnerability is the direct route, perhaps the only route, to your greatest strength.
And this is why I love “mistakes”. At the very moment a person stumbles, they break through the facade of perfection they’ve been trying to upkeep and finally allow the light of their humanity to shine through. We get to finally see you.
And that authenticity is worth millions.
In terms of performance, be it pitching, presenting or facilitating a high-pressure meeting, the most powerful person in the room is the most real. The one who is deeply comfortable with their flaws and no longer needs to hide behind a false facade. They don’t have to try like all the rest. They can just be.
When Patty Smith, an inimitable punk icon, performed her stunning rendition of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” at The Nobel Prize ceremony in 2016, she forgot her words half way through the song. Most performers would see this moment as a disaster. But not Patti.
Instead of getting disappointed in herself and trying to cover up her “mistake”, she admitted to the audience that she was “very nervous”. That moment of truth (which the audience could see anyway) was what connected her to her audience in a deeply profound way. The applause, both when she confessed her nerves and when she ended her performance, was enormous.
Who really craves more disappointment and challenge?
Anyone who TRULY wants to grow, that’s who.
“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”
– Theodore Roosevelt