I was recently embarrassed while shooting my TV show and realized the power of the experience. Let me explain.
I love my producer, (let’s call him Joe); he found me after interviewing many, many candidates, so I was so excited to be chosen. For the past nine months we’ve been planning and strategizing and shooting. We are together a lot because I have to teach him about coaching and he has to teach me how to make a TV show. It’s a very important relationship to me, and it’s not just business; it’s personal, too. When we are not in the thick of work, we joke, tease, banter, I try to coach him and he tries to get me better at TV.
Here is where I also have to explain that while being on film is something I really want, it was not something I was particularly prepared for or good at. Also I feel very vulnerable, given I don’t know exactly how to succeed at such an amazing opportunity. Basically, I have been scared to death to mess it up. And guess whom I consider the judge of how I am doing? You guessed it, my producer, Joe. I am desperate to keep him liking me and impressed with me. It’s exhausting.
Cut to day three of a grueling, intense, five-day shoot, cooped up in a house day and night with the subjects of the TV show whom we were coaching. Everyone was totally on edge and my boss, Lauren, was there that day because she was playing a role, too. She caught me in a little spat with Joe. He said something sarcastic about coaching and I said something sarcastic back and it escalated into real offense and then Lauren piped up and said “Laurie, what the heck are you doing?”
In that moment, my face started to burn; I could feel my tear ducts start to chug. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. I was so embarrassed! I had just gotten my makeup done, the camera guy and make-up artist were right there, and everyone was waiting to begin the next scene. I did not want to feel or deal with anything, but I knew I was trapped.
So, I just started trying to figure out what it was and it eventually boiled down to the fact that I was afraid he didn’t respect coaching and wouldn’t really let me in and validate what I do. By this time I was crying full on. When I finally let him talk, then he said “Laurie, you are ridiculous. Have you noticed I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been since we met? Have you noticed I have lost 25 pounds? And that we are in the middle of making an unbelievably powerful television show that is going to change the world? What more validation do you need?”
Suddenly I realized that for all the complaining I was doing that he wasn’t seeing me, I was in fact not seeing him. I was so wrapped up in my fear that I stopped having any perspective, and THAT impacts him. I said I was sorry and meant it; he accepted, we hugged and then everything got even deeper on the set. I cherish this amazing experience of getting over myself and connecting.
But I am still marveling at how very strongly I wanted to avoid all of that. Why?
IT WAS EMBARRASSING!
What embarrasses you?
- Getting called out?
- Being unprepared?
- Being yelled at?
- Getting caught with porn?
- Picking your nose? (eating it?)
Make your list. This list of your embarrassments owns you. Some of it you need to just get over. (Try posting your examples to my blog and see if it doesn’t lighten it all up for you.) And some you need to deal with or stop. If you are embarrassed about cheating, stealing, lying or a habit you know is bad for you, that’s a sign to start talking about it, so you can STOP it.
In that moment you want to run screaming from the room, rather than let someone else see you get emotional or deal with something, instead just say: “Wow, this is embarrassing!” You will be amazed what relief that simple sentence (the truth) brings.
And to start to prepare you to weather future embarrassments, and I wish you many, the next time you are in yoga, meditation, a jog or just sitting alone, try this. Imagine yourself in the most embarrassing situations you can come up with. (Please post examples that others can use to get their juices flowing.) Purposely bring yourself to the feeling of embarrassment and then feel it to its full extent until it naturally subsides. See how you survived? Please know you always will, and you will be much freer and more connected on the other side.
Here is to many more red cheeks, sweaty palms and short breaths!