How to Find the Funny in Stressful Situations
Sometimes, I think I’m a study in contradictions.
I have a playful personality … but I can get VERY intense in certain situations. I’m a take action type of person … but I don’t really pay attention to the “details.” (Back in school, I was called careless. But I think they should have capitalized on my ability to Get. Shit. Done.)
I know my strengths and weaknesses, so I’ve made sure that the people I hire to help me operate my business have zones of genius that complement mine—and pick up the slack where necessary.
This method works well for me professionally. In fact, based on recent events, I’m thinking I might need to bring someone on to handle my personal needs.
I travel a lot for my job. Months ago, one such trip took me to Greencastle, IN, where I was to give a presentation about Genius Hour to a bunch of superstar educators. I loaded up my Highlander with everything I’d need and was on my way.
I arrived the evening before my presentation, so I had a relaxing meal at my favorite restaurant, Almost Home. And then I cuddled up in bed to get a good night’s rest before my training day.
I was good to go. Or so I thought.
I pulled out my outfit for the day—a cheery ensemble of a cream sleeveless blouse, royal blue pencil skirt, and chartreuse cardigan—and jumped in the shower. I was feeling happy about my bold outfit and energized for what the day would bring.
But after my shower, I made a somewhat alarming discovery.
The only bra I’d brought along was the bright purple sports bra that I wore on my drive. (I ALWAYS dress in running gear.)
So, dilemma # 1: Bright purple bra + cream blouse = fashion faux pas.
And dilemma #2: A sports bra was not going to provide my “girls” with the support they’d need under such a sheer blouse.
I had a moment of panic. I’m supposed to be a professional, after all!
But then a calm washed over me, and I began to see the humor in the situation. This would make a great story to tell my audience! And on the bright side, at least I had that cardigan to help conceal the situation a bit.
So, I leaned into it. I realized I could be a professional—and still be my silly, goofy self. I told my audience that I didn’t quite have my shit together and to just ignore the hint of purple sports bra they might get a peek of during the day. The teachers roared with laughter. They related to it. And best of all, they embraced the fact that I definitely don’t offer the typical, boring professional development experience.
Here’s the thing: I could have easily blown this silly situation out of proportion. I could have stressed over it, could have worried all day about this group of teachers spying my purple bra, could have let a dark cloud hang over the training session.
I could have thought about all of those other professional development consultants out there who would never even say the word “bra” during a training, much less admit to not having their shit together.
Instead, I embraced the hilarity of the situation and made the training a memorable one for this group of teachers.
I realize I may not always be everyone’s cup of tea, but I am a thoroughly authentic presenter. One who can laugh and be silly—and always, always is a straight shooter.
Too often, we take life WAY too seriously. That’s just a recipe for unneeded stress and worry.
The better option is to relax and go with the silliness. Own your flaws and screw-ups. After all, a purple sports bra is nothing to fret over!
P.S. Wondering what’s happening with my hair in that picture? I forgot my curling iron that day, too, so I had some super-frizzy hair to go along with my purple sports bra. (See … I told you I need someone to tend to my personal needs!)
Question: Think of a time when you opted to handle a minor disaster with humor. How did it improve the situation? What did you learn from it?