We all have had experiences where we were embarrassed. Perhaps it was a fall in front of strangers, or a slip of the tongue. What I have found is that most of the time that I feel embarrassed, I shouldn’t. It is normally an experience that most people have experienced or know a loved-one that experienced it.
This knowledge becomes especially important as we learn to live with Kennedy’s Disease. Most of my embarrassing moments were falls or an inability to do something (all work related and in front of colleagues and/or customers).
What brought this topic to mind is the editing of a true story of one of those experiences where I felt embarrassed, but shouldn’t have. The story is “Caught” and it happened to me while I was flying back from a managers meeting in Seattle several years ago. After the encounter, I realized that there was no reason why I should have been so embarrassed; but at that moment … wow!
In my earlier articles I have written about several other embarrassing experiences, i.e., falling from a ladder or spilling my glass on my shoes in front of customers. There is also one experience where I was embarrassed and had every right to be … because I really did get caught and it had nothing to do with Kennedy’s Disease.
I was a regional manager for a company. I took a good customer to lunch one day. During lunch another customer of mine walked into the restaurant. The gentleman saw me and stopped by our table to say HELLO. For some reason I blanked on his name. I faked it for a minute or two and asked how things were going and I would be seeing him next week. My customer stood there waiting for me to introduce him to my luncheon guest. I was panic stricken and my mind just shut down.
Instead of being honest and just explaining that I forgot his name, I tried to fake it. I pointed at my luncheon guest and said something like, “John Doe, I would like you to meet … I’m sorry, I always have trouble pronouncing your last name.” The gentleman was very gracious, however. He reached out his hand and said, “Smith, Rick Smith. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
Well, you can about guess how small I felt. And even though I tried, apologies were not going to be accepted for this blunder.
Later I smoothed things over with Rick, but the experience taught me a valuable lesson. It is better to tell the truth and live with that small embarrassment then to compound the problem by trying to fake it. “SMITH ... you've got to be kidding me!”