Yes, I bombed (failed miserably) for a training session I delivered earlier on today. It was pretty bad considering that this assignment was a referral from my mentor. I did not deliver according to their brief sufficiently and while I was “engaging”, I wasn’t being relevant and couldn’t provide sufficient value. Not only that, the client was provided a full refund and my mentor had to “repair” the damage that has been done by me.
Was I upset? Hell yes and it stung me. Who wouldn’t be?
Many people think that trainers and speakers are paid extremely well (and they are) but they don’t see enough of what goes behind the scenes. The numerous hours and sleepless nights that go into the research of content, producing your own content, interviewing clients to suss out their “exact pain points” and understanding their learning styles, demographics and psychographics, finding relevant case studies and frameworks, preparing their presentation decks and handouts, rehearsing your content in the middle of a room or in front of a mirror, talking to yourself along the streets, expanding your repertoire of rhetorical skills by reading more books and attending more trainings, preparing the props and logistics, delivering your content on the platform, following up post-engagement with support materials and being “visible” and “present” on social media, constantly grappling with your self-doubt and inadequacies etc.
And adding on to that list — learning lessons of mastery and humility on the platform because you can speak as much as you can, in front of the mirror, but nothing will change until you engage a real audience. Nada, zilch. Great or terrible. Your audience decides that and provides you the best feedback you need to get as a trainer and speaker. The magic only happens when you are with your audience.
Today, if anything, I was reminded again that failures on stage are meant to make me stronger and more resilient so I can be broken down and moulded to serve a higher purpose. That I can choose to wallow in self pity and self-victimize or I can move on powerfully with objective and corrective work by getting back to my “to-do” list as I’m now in my serviced office and reviewing my video within 48 hours and be brutally honest with myself so I don’t ever make the same mistakes with clients who invest copious amount of trust in me!
And I will still appreciate myself deeply for forging on especially when I recall crying really badly and publicly at the first public preview I “bombed” at, as the speaker of the evening, when I was 21/22 years old back then.
Because the next time I sit down with a coaching client or address a huge audience, I can put my hand to my heart and tell them in utmost conviction that I have earned my stripes in sweat and tears paid in full with embarrassment, doubt and pain.
And then to tell them,
“Now’s your turn”