If You Can’t Embarrass Yourself, You’ll Never Win

Want to take a risk that people warn will be embarrassing? Good.

Michael Thompson
Forge

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Credit: Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

WWhen I took a sales job after college, some of my friends made it clear that they thought I was making a mistake. They were “concerned,” they said, about my stutter.

“What if you make a fool of yourself?” they said.

After I quit that sales job and moved to Barcelona without work, some of my friends made it clear they thought I was making a mistake. They worried I’d feel stupid, they said, when I inevitably gave up on Spain and moved back to the U.S.

After my wife and I started a family, I decided to begin publishing my writing. Some of my friends made it clear they thought I was making a mistake. Still, they tried to be “supportive.” They read my posts. “People love embarrassing stories,” they said.

I wish I could say, with the benefit of hindsight, that my friends were wrong. But they weren’t.

I did make a fool of myself for the first few months of my sales job. Some days I had a hard time even introducing myself to clients; I’ve always found words that begin with the letter “M” to be especially challenging, and of course my name is Mike.

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Michael Thompson
Forge

Co-creator of two cool kids • Storytelling Coach •.Fast Co., Insider, Forbes • Free storytelling guide here: https://bit.ly/3h1KZeT