The most embarrassing situation imaginable…

How do you avoid the most embarrassing situation you can imagine? Do you cover it up? Perhaps deny it or lie about it? Why not just avoid getting into the embarrassing situation in the first place?

This last option seems like the best place to start, for me. But sometimes avoiding the possibility of being embarrassed stands in contrast to the great opportunity or situation we really want to produce… or at least it seems that way to us (me).

With respect to social media (and blogging in particular), getting “out there” to me means writing in a way that:

  1. Is simultaneously genuine and expressive
  2. Displays humility as well as confidence in my strengths
  3. Offers help to take care of others’ concerns
  4. Leaves a huge opening to learn from their perspectives
  5. Shows proper respect for people, their dignity and the knowledge they offer

Meanwhile, I have to accept that I am (we all are) in a current situation built on a history of actions and accomplishments that precede me, helping others to form assessments of me and what I write. To the extent I “think” my past work does not describe all of me, there are many ways that it does more effectively than much that I could write in one or a few blog posts.

In addition, the help that I want to be to others and the offers that I want to make to others may not spring directly from the obvious or commonplace characteristics of my past. So does every post or tweet that I make further cement my past, or actually open up possibilities for my future?

To me, perhaps the most embarrassing situation is the one in which felt I could not show up genuinely, accepting my limitations and my flaws… and then got in over my head. It happens from time to time with everybody in small ways, but with regards to social media maybe it shows up as concerns over what to post, what to comment, what to tweet… how to engage???

Now I imagine a situation in which people on the web can make an accurate assessment of my strengths and abilities. My accomplishments could speak for themselves, and I could be confident to just be myself and write and engage others from my soul. There would be no room for embarrassment, no fear of posting a comment or a tweet, no concern for hiding. To the extent what I produce is valued by others, my networks are strong and healthy, working together as we move in our careers.

Why hide? Get out there and add a comment to this post.

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About ken
Creative insights, passion and technical adrenaline - strategist, agile coach and marketer, providing a good life for wife of 20 years & 2 awesome teenagers!

6 Responses to The most embarrassing situation imaginable…

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  5. Ken, I’ve got one more “embarrassing situation avoidance” strategy: own it.

    I took a couple of archeology classes in college where we were digging on land that had been occupied by Native Americans along the bluffs above the Savannah River. We laid off a five-foot square grid, and dug four-and-a-half-foot square holes within them, going down six inches at a time and sifting the dirt for artifacts which would be cataloged according to location and depth. We tried to maintain the walls between these holes so that we could periodically examine them for traces of prehistoric disturbance. As the holes got deeper, this was harder and harder to do. We were digging with long-handled shovel in increasingly deeper pits. Occasionally one of us would partially knock down one of these walls. This would reduce our chances of finding soil disturbances, but we would then sift the dirt from this wall to collect and catalog the artifacts it contained.

    One day, I heard a fellow student cry “I did it” followed by the “whump!” of a large amount of dirt falling. He had just bumped into a wall that was about four feet high.

    I was incredibly impressed. I knew that, had I bumped into that same wall, I would have looked around to see if anybody noticed before I sheepishly took responsibility for the mistake. He had boldly claimed responsibility before anyone else even knew what had happened. It became my goal to become the sort of person who could do that.

    I learned more that day than all that I learned about archeology, put together.

    • ken says:

      Thanks, George! What an excellent allegory. Your comment triggered me that the situations we have both written about require direct “production” on our (my) part. Simply being open and genuine avoids all that.

      It also occurs as I write this that my parents and the “grown-ups” around me told me these things, and I could swear I listened. A few decades go by, and it is not bad to learn important lessons again.

      BTW, I am on a curriculum advisory board for a university that is using cultural algorithms to identify where native american settlements existed in Lake Huron. (I don’t understand any of it, but it sounds pretty cool.)

      –k

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