I’ve always said that I learn so much more in moments where things don’t turn out as I’d hoped or anticipated. These moments of ‘defeat’ have shown up as feelings of shock, anger, sadness, disbelief, self-doubt, and shame; a smorgasbord of negative feelings that can take a while to sort themselves out. However, over the years I’ve learned that the feelings rushing in can be transformed into a surge of energy that ignites a massive flow of creativity.
The presentation I share here, “Fall Forward to Embrace Your Inner Winner,” was created by such an energy flow. I had entered a speaking contest to share a story about two dogs in my life who had taught me some huge lessons about love. I entered with the vision that whoever needed to hear this message would do so. I further challenged myself by taking a risk when I abandoned my perfectly good well-rehearsed version and crafted a brand new unpolished version in the days leading up to the contest due to feedback I received from a friend and ‘sister from another mister’ as we like to call ourselves, that I could ‘do better.’ I could be more authentic. I could dig deeper into the heart of the message. I felt the truth of her feedback wash over me and sink in. So, like a magician, I pulled a completely revamped version out of the in the days leading up to the contest.
I took her challenge to work through the true source of pain of my doggy love lesson, which was the loss of my father at age twelve. It felt painfully spectacular.
Contest morning, I paced around my studio, waiting for my turn to go on camera. I sang songs and held my arms up in the universal victory sign. I already felt like a winner for being brave and bold. Now I just needed to let my brilliance shine through my story and message. It was showtime! And, as any stage hungry person knows, this feeling is simply thrilling.
The results came in. I didn’t even place, which, for me, was a first in this contest. But stunningly, I still felt like a winner. Why?
As anticipated, over the next few days, a rush of creativity flowed in, and I took full advantage. I crafted yet another presentation called Fall Forward to Embrace Your Inner Winner, in which I shared three big lessons I learned in the year prior when I decided to try my hand at stand-up comedy. As it turned out, it was more like fall-down comedy, which I then reframed as ‘Fall Forward’ comedy.
In this reframing, I start as a runner in a 5-K race, hoping to beat my last time, which I do. However, I come in dead last in the race. Because I decided what would be my win, I still felt like a winner and do a little victory dance. I then transition into the three lessons learned from my stand-up fall-forward comedy experience, which can apply to any situation in life.
The first lesson I learned was to define my inner win ahead of time. What would be a win for me? By the way, you can set multiple wins for any situation.
The second lesson was to resist the urge to compare my win with someone else’s. The third was to believe that no matter what the outcome, it’s rarely as bad as we think, but we can make it a whole lot worse in our minds.
I don’t want to ruin the video above by spilling the beans on my comedy experience’s details. Still, I will share that I also learned a lot more about what it takes to succeed at stand-up comedy—a HUGE commitment to falling forward. The most successful comedians did one thing. They didn’t give up. No matter how few laughs they got when they were getting on stage night after night, they got up again and again. To me, these folks can claim the ultimate winning triad of brave, bold brilliance. I bow to their success with a great deal of admiration and respect. I decided stand-up comedy is not my thing. But I’m so glad I gave it a go. The lessons learned were worth every ounce of pain on and off the stage.