I have fond memories of when I was a professional Middle Eastern belly dancer. Though, the performances I remember most are the ones that left me looking and feeling quite silly. Like the time, I was doing beautiful arm movements, only to plop them into a dinner plate as a waiter got too close to the stage. It takes a special talent to continue dancing while trying to remove mashed potatoes from your hands. Or the time I was performing for a L'Oreal circus-themed party that included an organ grinder and his monkey. As I struck a pose during my performance, the monkey got away from the organ grinder, grabbed my foot, and started sucking on my toe. I was standing there, frozen, hoping not to lose my big toe, when the organ grinder came running over. He's explaining that the monkey doesn't have any teeth and not to worry. Everybody is laughing, but all I want is to somehow finish my show without a monkey attached to me and thoroughly wash my feet as soon as possible. Oh, the glamorous life of show biz.
I've had many instances that I can laugh at now, even though, at the time, I felt embarrassed. But, over the years, I've learned that my best stories are the ones that have unexpected outcomes. This perspective comes in handy whenever I feel unsure of myself and worried I'm taking a possible risk of failing. I realized that no matter the outcome, I'd have a new experience to help me learn from. My self-deprecating tales allowed me to share my vulnerabilities and reminded me not to take myself so seriously. It also opened the door for others to tell their less-than-stellar moments and feel safe doing so.
We can create a wonderful bonding moment when each person can slip off the superficial facade we all put on when meeting each other for the first time. Of course, talking about our accomplishments and the amazing things we've done in our lives is great, but we connect more deeply when we let our guard down. We become more relatable and less intimidating. We don't have to divulge all personal information, just a snippet of a time when our performance, job interview, or blind date didn't go exactly the way we wanted. We reveal a part of ourselves that isn't on the resume, but more than likely endears us on a deeper level.
Avoiding any chance of looking or feeling imperfect robs us of invaluable experiences. Each time we step into the unknown is an opportunity to gain a new outlook, meet someone fascinating, or learn something new. Waiting around for the right time while we do more research or want validation before asking for that promotion keeps us stagnant. Regret is what we should fear the most. A story of how we played it safe and never traveled outside our comfort zone is boring. Taking chances is what life is all about, even if it means a monkey may end up sucking on your toe.