Put a Band-aid on Your Ego and Keep on Walking

by Alli Polin on July 12, 2013

band aid for your ego

I had an amazing weekend in NYC with my husband.  We went to a Broadway show, had great meals and spent a lot of time walking them off all around the city.   I was feeling really good on Sunday morning as we walked near Central Park to get a cup of coffee; the concierge recommended the café and said it was his favorite.  As we crossed Fifth Avenue by the park…  I tripped.

Flying.

Flat on my face.

Cell phone launched.

Watch lying on the ground.

Husband staring at me in shock and disbelief.

I scurried to my feet and barked to my husband to pick up my things so we could quickly keep moving.  I felt like just for a moment every taxi, tourist and New Yorker stopped and stared.  As we began to walk, I heard the noises of the city begin once again around me and noticed the throbbing pain in my knee and the palms of my hands.

The only thing that hurt worse than my bloody knee?  My ego.

My husband ignored my brusque attitude, took my hand, carried my things, and made sure I was doing OK.  We ordered some coffee and a bite to eat and I checked out my wounds.  Good news, I’ll live.  My knee has a big scrape that I’ll hardly notice in a few weeks.  My ego’s doing just fine too… right where it belongs – close to earth.

When we fall, stumble, get called out in a meeting or pulled over by a police officer, it can feel like the world stops and a million eyes are on us noticing our imperfection.   It’s as if our self-confidence disappears and we are replaced by a very tiny version of ourselves.  In that moment, when we’re feeling smallest, it’s really because we are feeling vulnerable.  Our armor is off and everyone can see that we can (and do) indeed fall.

Remember:

  • People who ruminate over their mistakes are much less successful than those that recognize their mistakes, learn and move on.
  • You need to forgive yourself to move forward.
  • Perfect isn’t reality, or a goal you can reach.
  • Blame doesn’t help make you bigger or better.
  • Only the weak decline help; we are stronger together.
  • Band-aids can take many forms: a willing ear, a smile from someone that’s been there, an invitation to grab a coffee or an offer to share the load.

Thing is, we’re all human and humans bleed, get cuts, scratches and fall.  The trick is to get back up, grab a band-aid and keep going.  I was lucky, I could take my husband’s arm to make my walk easier.  Ask yourself, whose arm is reaching out to you?  Are you prepared to take their hand as it extends to you?

When was the last time your ego survived some bangs and bumps?  What did you learn from the experience?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon Mertz July 12, 2013 at 7:12 am

Great points, Alli. We all fall but it is in how we recover that says it all. It is keeping our spirit up and energized! Jon

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Alli Polin July 12, 2013 at 8:34 am

Absolutely, Jon. It is most definitely the recovery that defines us.

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Chris Jordan July 12, 2013 at 8:37 am

Alli,

How you are able to post things so relevant to a situation I’m going through or dealing with I will never know. I thank God for you and your words/thoughts and truly learn so much about myself and the bigger picture! As been said about failing, or even tripping…Fail forward. There is always a lesson. We just have to be humble and open enough to see it! Thank you Alli and have a great weekend!

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Alli Polin July 12, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Love when things come at just the right time. Fail forward 🙂 Absolutely! Falling down is only a failure if we let it stop us. Thank you for your heartfelt comment, Chris!

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marquita herald July 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I did that once when I was on a business trip to Melbourne – rushing to get to an appointment and down I went. Thank heavens I didn’t break a heel or damage my suite. I still replay that moment occasionally and have to laugh at myself because I was up and moving so fast it was like I has been shot with a rubber band, and of course acting like nothing at all had happened.

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Alli Polin July 16, 2013 at 6:58 am

I moved at the speed of light too, Marquita! I was also happy that while my knee was bloody, somehow my pants didn’t tear (all the better to hide my wounds). So funny that we act as if it never happened without even a moment to take in the shock or wonder how it happened so we can make sure that we don’t trip and fall again, we’re on our way forward.

Of course, I now blame my shoes! I’ve caught myself wobbling a few times – but I still wear them and just try to walk more carefully where the pavement is uneven. Do that at work and in life too!

Many thanks for sharing your story! Totally can relate!

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Gilly July 14, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Oh Alli-I’m glad you’re ok and you enjoyed the rest of your day. I think the trick is to have your band-aids in place before you need them, if you can. Know who you can ask for help or where you can go for help. Sometimes when you fall down, in the panic it’s hard to move forward as you get up. As you say when someone does reach out to you, it’s your choice whether or not to take their hand. Great message.

Gilly

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Alli Polin July 16, 2013 at 6:54 am

Gilly – Great points! There is absolutely panic when you fall and knowing who’s there to help you get up makes a HUGE difference! Turning to a special trusted advisor, friend (or husband) that you know you can count on makes asking for help easier too. We did enjoy the rest of the day and the scab on my knee still reminds me that I may get hurt but I’m not down for the count.

Grateful for your comment and our connection! Thanks, Gilly!

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Lolly Daskal July 16, 2013 at 7:38 am

Alli,

You make a great point.

We all fall!

And we have a choice : we can see our falls as for what they are or make them into something bigger.

What I like about your story and what we all need when we stumble is you had a supportive husband. checking in and asking if you were okay.

Feeling we are not alone in our stumbling is important.

Having people we trust to be there for us is important.

Knowing that if we need help we have it- is important.

It makes our falling, stumbling, bruising, easier to digest.

Love your post.

Lolly

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Alli Polin July 18, 2013 at 7:57 am

Lolly, We are so quick to make our stumbles into earth shattering, spectacular, painful falls in our thoughts and replays of events. I am very lucky that I always know that while my husband may not catch me, here is there, present in his trust and love. When we cultivate meaningful relationships we are creating more than a hand to help us get back up but a team of people that truly care and are present with us giving us renewed strength even when they are not physically present. Thank you, Lolly for the reminder that we never need to be alone when we stumble and we don’t need to hide.

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Dr. Christi Hegstad July 16, 2013 at 9:42 am

Alli,

This was perfect for me to read this morning! It reminded me of a line I read recently about taking “the path of most resilience” – and how it doesn’t matter how many times we fall, as long as we keep getting back up.

“My ego’s doing just fine too… right where it belongs – close to earth” – love this! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

Christi

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Alli Polin July 18, 2013 at 7:52 am

So glad you shared that, Christi! “Taking the past of most resilience.” Makes me think of a lot of different things and paths that I can and do choose to take. Finding our path of passion and strength is often where our greatest resilience lies. Really appreciate that I now have a new place to reflect! Where is my path of most resilience? What about you?

Thanks, Christi!!

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Susan Wright-Boucher July 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Great article — What helps me to stop ruminating on a mistake or an ego-busting embarrassment is to shift my thinking off of myself by realizing that I’m practicing self-centered thinking.

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Alli Polin July 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

Susan, First of all, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your wisdom here! Yes, it is most definitely a me-centric moment. Being able to be aware of where we’re focusing our attention and getting intentional about getting off of us and focused on others and our relationship with them makes a huge difference.

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MJ Gottlieb July 18, 2013 at 10:18 am

Hi Alli,

Great post- Yes I think humility and asking for help are two of the most powerful traits one can have, although (like everything else) it took me a very long time to realize it. I also like how you mention that perfect is not possible. It used to pain me not to be perfect, now I am excited because there is always more to learn. Great post. Best- MJ

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Alli Polin July 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm

MJ – Thanks so much for your comment! It took me far to long too. I thought if I didn’t figure it out on my own (and get it right) I wasn’t a rockstar. Turns out most of the rockstars I know ask for help and honstly know that we are stronger together than apart. As for perfection – great way to look at growth and learning! Perfect implies that we can get it wrong instead of continuing to get even better as ideas evolve. Thanks again!

Best, Alli

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