March 28, 2011

Lesson learned: no more boots at boot camp.

Here they are…the culprits:

The boots that launched a blog post.

I wore these suckers while leading a presentation at a recent Redpoint Marketing Boot Camp, and they caused some hilarity.  While pausing momentarily in my front-of-room pacing to answer a question, I crossed one leg in front of the other…and that’s when my boots worked their mischief.  The metal hooks of one locked into the finger loop of the other, and voila:  I was stuck.  (enlarge the photo if you’re curious about the mechanics)

In a split second, I realized that there would be no graceful resolution to this situation.  They were hooked tightly, and jiggling them unobtrusively only seemed to make it worse.  So, there was nothing for it but to confess to the group, bend dramatically from the waist (thank you, Miss Marianne, for the years of dance training in my youth), and perform the intricate surgery required.

The audience’s laughter was ringing in my ears while I was down there, but I took comfort that they weren’t laughing at ME…they were laughing at what I said:

Guys, can you believe this?  My boots just got hooked together and y’all need to give me a minute to get untangled.  Note to self:  no more boots at boot camp.

Here’s what I learned from this hilarious situation.

1 – If you want to hear God laugh…make a plan.  I had this day orchestrated down to the most well-thought-out detail.  Boots hooking together did not even make the list of “things to prevent from going wrong.”  So, just be ready to take things as they come.

2 – If you are giving a presentation – no matter how “exalted” your authority or expertise is – you’re still just a person.  And your boots can get hooked together just like anyone else.  Displaying practical humility at all times will enable you to maintain your dignity and authority…even through a dramatic “waist bending moment.”

3 – Social media has changed our culture forever.  After getting unhooked, I said to the group…”do me a favor…if that happens again and I go flying while trying to move, please don’t all whip out your video phones and immortalize it on YouTube.”  And then someone shouted out “Why?  It would get millions of views and you’d be famous!”

And you know what?  Damn.  She was right.  Why didn’t I think of that?

Note to self:  wear boots at next boot camp.

One thought on “Lesson learned: no more boots at boot camp.

  1. Hey Chris – I am SO sorry I missed this session. Can we have a replay at VTIC next month? Only you could make a blog posting out of such a thing. See you soon – Diane