REFLECTION: Unless you’ve been locked in a coma or a media free retreat, you’ll know that over the last two weeks, Canada played host to the 21 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. If you tuned in at all, you may have caught the broadcast of the Opening Ceremonies. And, if you stuck with the program until the end you will also know that the Opening Ceremony ended with more of a grand fizzle than a grand finale.
Because of an equipment goof up, only 3 of the 4 supports for the cauldron lifted into position. As a result, only 3 of the 4 high-level athletes who were to torch the cauldron to life, got to do their thing. It was embarrassing for the organizing committee and all just a bit awkward for Canada. People looked at each other, eyebrows raised, and wondered whether ‘almost but not quite’ was destined to become the tenor of the Games.
Fast forward two weeks to the opening moments of the Closing Ceremony. The 3 armed cauldron sits in the middle of the stadium. The 4th arm is coaxed to life through the actions of a Mime who jumpstarts the lifting of the arm by apologetically plugging it into a giant extension cord. Catriona LeMay Doan, the 4th athlete appears on the scene to – finally – take her turn at lighting the flame.
The spoof is hilarious. In one fell swoop, the organizers sweep away any residues of embarrassment about the opening night malfunction. They shine a spotlight on the failure, make fun of themselves in the process, and create the opportunity to set things right.
ACTION: What a lesson they gave the world in how to use a sense of humor to deal with situations that go sideways.
Their formula for moving from goof to guffaw looked like this:
- Own the error.
- Put it in perspective. (Laugh don’t cry)
- Make amends.
- Carry on.
I don’t know about you. But the next time I fall flat in one effort or another (and I’m sure I will), I’m going to keep this approach in mind.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “That’s not serious; it’s just human.” – Jerry Kopke.
“One cannot too soon forget his errors and misdemeanors; for to dwell upon them is to add to the offense.” – Henry David Thoreau
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: If you are in the mood for a few more chuckles, drop in to the Questionable Translations and Church Bulletin Goofs sections on this site: http://www.jmhare.com/funny_stuff/goodies.htm
READERS WRITE: In response to the earlier Pause message, Meltdowns Optional, reader MD writes: “Just dealt with a seven year old’s meltdown before school this morning. Your notes continue to remind me to relax and respond appropriately (something I didn’t do today). Thanks for my reminder…AGAIN.”