How I recover from making a fool of myself

I am just back from hosting an improv workshop and I am absolutely PUMPED!

But today I want to share a technique I use to get myself out of that feeling of shame/guilt that comes after making ‘public’ mistakes or making a fool of myself.

You know those regrets when you feel like something went wrong, or you shouldn’t have said or done this or that and you want to crawl under a rock?

Yeah, I get it. It happens. Steve Harvey knows what I am talking about here:

You see, I find a LOT of freedom in trusting that I can deal with what comes my way (and that includes dealing with my emotions as well).

It doesn’t mean that I never fail or feel crappy about myself.
It means that I know that everything can be used for good and that I don’t fear the storm.

I know that sometimes it will come and if it does, I know I can use it to my advantage. No biggie. That’s a lot less stressing, and a lot more living.

Here is an example:
Not so long ago I made a few mistakes in an event and was self-conscious about it. I was focusing on what other people might be thinking, I just wanted to go back in time and erase everything. It left me wanting to curve myself up in a ball.

Sh*t happens.

But I was not going to allow this to affect me more than for a short moment.

Here is what I like to do – I switch from fear to faith:

First, see it for what it is – a storm of thoughts that is not serving you. It’s there. The thought momentum is high so it is consuming and hard to stop (a simple distraction may not do the trick). It’s alright.

Second, talk or write about it starting with the words: Right now I feel…
Letting things out and saying concretely how you FEEL (not stating what you assume is true) can be really relieving and it helps to see it for what it is – feelings and thoughts, and not necessarily facts.

Third, look for another perspective and do the switch.
When we are stuck in self-doubt or shame, we are looking at a situation through the eyes of fear. Fear of being disliked, fear of being ridiculed, fear of losing an opportunity, etc.

Faith, on the other hand, is trusting that you are on the right path.

It is asking: from what I am learning, what will I do differently next time?
It is trusting that what you are going through, or what happens, is preparing you for what’s to come.
It is seeing opportunities to grow, not mistakes.

And it also is gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunities you encounter, gratitude for the ability to enjoy them even though it is not always perfect, and gratitude for what you are moving forward – your desired result.

You’ll notice….when you focus on faith, the fear reduces dramatically or totally disappears.

It is like when the cat gets in the building, the mice leave.

They are like oil and water, they can’t be mixed.

There is no fear in faith.

So next time you are paralyzed by doubt or shame, try it out and let me know!

And you may just as well find out that nobody noticed and that most of it was, in fact, only in your head. 🙂

With truckloads of love,

Geneviève Pépin

Coach for the ambitious woman

It’s never too late to be who you’re meant to be.