Dumb Things We Do That Make Us Look Stupid

JoAnn Hines

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At a recent conference, the moderator asked everyone to turn all cell phones off at the beginning of the event. No more than 30 minutes later, her own phone rang as she stood on stage welcoming attendees to the conference. Boy was she embarrassed. Has this happened to you? Have you ever done a dumb thing that made you look stupid or at least you thought it did?

I had a recent meeting with someone from out of town. We had been corresponding via phone and email beforehand. All the arrangements were set to meet at a local hotel for breakfast and I was all prepared. Leaving my house at 6:15 to avoid the traffic, I realized halfway to me meeting that I had no idea the last name of the person I was meeting. Sure, we corresponded and my brain assimilated the info but when I walked out the door, it never occurred to me that I didn?t have his last name to call his hotel room. (That I remembered his first name was going to be no help whatsoever. )

Fortunately, after the initial panic of how I was going to call the room, my brain went into gear and I recalled his last name. I practiced a dozen mnemonics in the car to ensure it would be permanently engraved in my memory by the time I got to my meeting. I felt dumb that I could have overlooked this essential bit of preparation for the meeting.

The point of this example is that we all operate on remote control at various points during the day.

I received a snotty email from a woman when I addressed her by the wrong name. I was relying on my memory rather than taking an extra minute to look up her name. I think it is silly that she was piqued. We all make mistakes. However, her point was well made. I been more thorough the issue could have been avoided completely.

One thing I didn't do was get all excited about it. It was a mistake - pure and simple, and I'm not going to beat myself up over it. One of my regular readers sends me back typos from my e-zine almost every week. I make a joke about it and blame it on someone else (just kidding). It is simply not a big enough issue to waste brainpower agonizing about it.

Just think about the next time you make a big gaff (or so it appears to you). How critical is this in the scheme of things? Don't “worry" it into something more than it needs to be. If it is a mistake, acknowledge the fact and move on to the next issue at hand. If it becomes a big issue with another person, the reality is that you were not going to have much of a relationship anyway.

Don't get caught up in the “dumb" things you do. Think about all the successes that far outweigh any thing you did that might be considered stupid.

When I started my career on the packaging industry I was just a lowly underling with no possibility for advancement. I tried all the “company touted" ways to advance my career to no avail. I was frustrated, disappointed and disenchanted about why no opportunities came my way. I was an excellent worker, on time honest and a top performer so why couldn't the “powers that be" recognize that fact?

It was because I didn't understand how to package myself. I didn't know that hard work and good performance DOES NOT equate to career advancement. YES, that's right a good performance does not mean that you will get promoted or a raise. Visibility is the key: who you know and who knows you is the magic door opener. And only you can make that happen. How much personal marketing have you done? I bet its not much. Its a methodical process that requires a commitment each and every week. And we all know how time crunched you are. But what if you have most of the work done for you and marketing yourself was as simple as filling in the blank. To find out more email me at Pkgcoach@aol.com


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