A refreshingly disappointing performance

Last week I heard an author whom I really admire speak live, in person. I’ve read one of his books, follow his blog, and plan to consume more and more of his words and inspiration, written & spoken (as time allows)! And of course I have no time, but I digress…

This is someone who writes well, speaks well, and has a lot of important things to say about education, work, life, and leadership – all things that matter to me. This is the kind of guy who inspires you to write that blog, write that book, pursue that silly idea that just might change your life.

I was so excited to attend his event last week, but you know what? I was disappointed!! He arrived late; many of the ideas he shared were found in the book I recently read; he did a bit of Q&A but seemed generally rushed and not quite “there.” “Well he is human,” my friend said. That’s the simple truth. He’s human. Really, you would have thought he was Jesus the way the room hushed when he entered.

He’s human, just like you and me. And that’s why his success, just like the success of anyone else is so tangible. He was tired, worn out from travel. Hey! I get tired and worn out from travel too! A series of veins pump blood to his heart keeping him oxygenated and alive! Hey! My veins do that too!

I’m periodically reminded that when I’m disappointed about something, I’ve set the bar too high. Sure, it’s great to expect the best and to reach for the best, but I’ve been known to get discouraged or even quit something because it is less than “perfect.” Is this what people mean by “Perfect is the enemy of good?” Maybe throwing out something less than perfect is our way of letting ourselves off the hook from doing something that is just too scary? In my case, yes!

This speech was disappointing because like any good vampire I was hoping for some fresh blood to suck. Instead, I got an intelligent, well-thought, well-spoken human being who happens to have a finite amount of patience, time, and new thoughts to share.

The evening, by the way, was still a hit. I had a fun night out with a great friend. And even though I felt much of what my beloved author shared were rehashed ideas, who better to drive these points home then the man himself?

And the best takeaway for me was to forgive him, and myself, and anyone else for just being “human.”

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