A Bit Player

Do you ever feel self-conscious when you’re doing something or worry about how people might perceive you? Does this ever hold you back from doing or saying something that could benefit you in the long run?

Somewhere I heard this statement, “You are nothing more than a bit player in everyone else’s play.” I love that line! What that says to me is that what we perceive as big in our lives is usually very small in everyone else’s life.

Ever had a bad hair day. Guess what? Nobody notices—I’m serious! My wife doesn’t even notice when I get a haircut! It doesn’t matter.

As a professional speaker, my job is to stand in front of groups of people and hopefully have them think a little differently by the end of the day. When I first started doing this line of work, I was very concerned about what people thought of me. I wanted to please them—their opinions mattered a great deal to me.

Once, I was in Cincinnati doing a full day seminar for about 120 people. I needed these people to work together in little groups throughout the day, so I asked them during the first ten minutes or so to “Take about 30 seconds; stand up, and meet the people around you.” Almost immediately two men walked up to me. Both of them handed me notes on small pieces of paper.

“Your zipper is down!”

I looked down and saw it—my zipper was all the way open and part of my blue shirt was sticking out. Mortified is the only word I can think of to describe how I felt.

So what did I do? When everyone was reseated, I read the notes the men had handed me to the entire audience. Everyone had noticed anyway. Why act like it didn’t happen? Might as well make light of it and admit my mistake. It got a huge laugh and really broke the ice for everyone to have a fun filled day.

I have found over time that when I make light of my mistakes especially in front of crowds they love it. So I don’t try to hide them anymore. Many times the levity of the moment is one of the highlights of the day.

“You are nothing more than a bit player in everyone else’s play.” That sounds very demeaning, but this can be used in a very positive way if looked at with the right perspective.

So specifically, where do you need to quit worrying so much about what someone else thinks? Think of how you can put these situations into a perspective that is more positive and based on reality?

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