Yes, I did. I looked down at my feet moments before heading into the classroom to deliver a lecture to my multicultural, adult college class and realized I was wearing beige shoes, but two different beige shoes. Being a stickler for punctuality in the classroom, I had twenty seconds to decide how to handle this mismatch.
The previous day I had discussed with my group the concept of “wearing different hats” in most jobs. So, I reminded them of this and then said, “And today I’m wearing different shoes”. We had a chuckle over it and then continued with the lesson.
It’s all in the recovery. Acknowledge, apologize if necessary, and move on.
Here’s a familiar scenario. Who hasn’t done this? You knock over a glass of water at the restaurant table. “Oh, a little puddle”, you say, as you reach for a pile of napkins to soak up the water. “Sorry.” Realizing the world has not ended, “Would anyone care for some more bread/wine/(or whatever)?” It’s all in the recovery. Acknowledge, apologize, and move on. What was missing from this scenario was the tirade of self-criticism we often hear: “I am so clumsy”, “You can dress me up but you can’t take me out”, “You should see what I did yesterday”, and so on, and so on. This has only drawn even more attention to the mishap. You’ve now guaranteed the others will vividly remember your accident.
It’s all in the recovery. Acknowledge, apologize if necessary, and move on. No self-criticism required.
Students have looked at me in amazement over the years when I’ve told them that it is possible to walk into an interview, trip and fall, pick them selves up, and still ace the interview. It’s all in the recovery.
I cannot remember the country of origin of the student who raised his hand after my two different shoes confession. Obviously he was not from a country as affluent as the one I’m privileged to call home. His observation; “Teacher, you have too many shoes.”