Her name is Jas. She walked up to me at lunch and said, “This is the best one yet. I am loving MMMEvent this year.”
I looked at her in shock because the story I was telling myself was very different.
We were having major challenges with our AV team.
There was an echo in the room, my headset mic didn’t work and I had to change microphones in front of the room which completely threw my flow off. I felt like I bombed the opening story.
The clicker to advance the slides didn’t work for Derek, and he needed to wait what felt to me like an eternity for them to get it to work.
The video introduction Allyson had worked so hard on wasn’t working at all. There was no audio.
All of these issues had put us behind by about 30 minutes and I was feeling extreme angst. The story I was telling myself is the audience must be upset. We were late, lunch was waiting, and instead of looking like pros, we looked like amateurs.
Jas saw it differently.
She was focused on the quality of the experience, the stellar content that each speaker delivered, the powerful and transformative lessons that were being shared, and the professionalism everyone was showing in spite of some tech challenges.
When she told me that it was the best event yet, I was in shock. I had to ask her to explain to me how that was possible. By being fully present and listening to her perspective, I began to calm down.
I realized that I could not be trusted. The story I was telling myself was wrapped up in perfectionism and simply wasn’t true. Over the course of lunch, more and more people came up to me to tell me this was the best one yet and I realized…
I had let my inner two year old control the story in my mind and that it was imperative for me to listen to the feedback that was the AUDIENCE’s experience.
Do you do this?
Do you make up stories when something goes wrong?
Do you let your desire for perfection run the show?
Do you stop trying because you don’t think what you’re doing is good enough?
You can’t be trusted either.
Stop letting your internal dialogue run the show and instead, start seeking feedback from your customers so you know whether or not you’re being way too hard on yourself.
There is no such thing as perfection. No matter how hard you and I both try, there will always be room for improvement and yet, for someone else, the experience was perfectly what they needed at that moment.
Footnote: To those of you who were at MMMEvent this year, thank you for holding up the mirror for me to see how great the event was. The theme of the event was story and it’s pretty obvious to me now that this was the most powerful lesson I could have learned from being there. Thank you to Jas and everyone else who made that possible.