Seeing myself on video typically elicits a variation on one of these responses:
1) “I will never wear that outfit again.”
2) “I thought I was so much (pick any of the following) smarter, funnier, clearer, better looking than this.”
3) “Turn it off. Seriously, I can’t take another minute!”
So needless to say, when Barbara and I hit replay on a recent workshop videotape, I was both curious as hell and defensively hardened to expect the worst. We watched for a few minutes in silence. Then Barbara said, “Well, I don’t hate it.” (That just killed me because what I really heard her say was, “This is much better than I expected and I can live with it!”). And she was right, though her language revealed the negative orientation toward self- assessment that I both relate to and witness frequently with my clients.
But here was the real zinger. Once we loosened up and enjoyed laughing at ourselves and each other, (and frankly we both have seen ourselves often enough to not be too surprised), we realized that a whole back-story was playing out on this video that neither of us had any awareness of at the time.
We were floored. Was I really standing so awkwardly nearby while she was presenting an important module? Was she really prepping the room for the next piece, while I was delivering my content? We were roaring with disbelief! And more importantly, in seeing myself on film, I was able to recognize that I had actually experienced a sense of discomfort about where to stand while Barbara presented, but hadn’t been able to resolve it at the time. My body radiated that discomfort on film. It was so illuminating and hugely beneficial. We got great insight into how to make our workshops even more seamless. It was a fantastic learning experience. And we screamed with laughter at ourselves which is always good for the partnership and the soul.
So pull out your video. And don’t just see the worst; wait for that unexpected —you may be glad.