I have been told my numerous clients and colleagues over the years that nothing “fazes” me. I solve problems well under pressure, I typically make the right decision in stressful situations and I usually produce sounds reasons as to why I made the decision. I have spent the majority of the past decade in the live event industry. Missed deadlines cost money, more importantly they cost people jobs and reputation.
I have always thought of myself as a logical and rational thinker. I can evaluate a situation and usually settle on a decision. Typically once that decision is made, I have no regrets and can often deal with the outcome whether it was the intended outcome or one that might not have worked out as planned. Some recent reflection may have unveiled some new flaws to this self evaluation. First off, this self evaluated critical thinker profile that I have conjured up in my mind really only applies to my professional life. Honestly, when it comes to my personal life I sometimes have trouble deciding where to eat (and by sometimes I mean every day, which is why I almost always end up at the same place).
As I mentioned some recent reflection has revealed some flaws in how I actually perceive the way I think. To illustrate my point I have to share a story from my professional past, please bear with me (I originally typed bare with me but I don’t think anyone is going to be in the mood to take their clothes off from this story =)). A few years back I was working an event at Cesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. We worked with this client for several years and it was a great client. A special meeting room was set up for all of the executives of this software company and I could tell that this meeting was very important to my client. I remember it being a big deal because they brought in about 150 beautiful leather executive chairs, typically a conference attendee sits in a chair that could potentially cause a hernia or ruptured disc in their lower back. Our client wanted pretty and at the time even though we were an audio visual company our definition of pretty didn’t always match that of the client. The client ordered a screen surround to pretty up the huge 9 ft x 12 ft projection screen we put in the room.
To make a long story short the screen surround, which was provided by a third party company and ordered directly by the client, tumbled over into the first 3 rows of seats less than an hour before this important executive meeting started. Being the A/V project manager and faced with a very distraught and somewhat emotional client, I made a series of very quick decisions. I pulled my entire tech staff in, we dismantled the other company’s decorative piece, and we swapped screens with one in another room that had a drape kit surrounding it. I instructed a couple of guys to grab some giant planters from the lobby (I think they weighed a 1000 pounds or at least if felt that way dragging them through the hotel) and we also threw in some decorative lighting and stole some banners from other areas of the event and tidied up the room just in time for the meeting to start. We did all of these things in less than 45 minutes! Later we find out this meeting was to announce to the executives, board of directors and shareholders that the company was being acquired by a very large tech company who I will not name (though they share their name with a British version of our A1 sauce that goes delightfully well on a sheppards or chicken and mushroom pie)! I guess I really did not do well making this long story short.
What does all of this mean? After my client composed herself and was able to breathe again, I received a lot of praise for my organized response to the mishap. She even provided my entire team with tickets to Elton John (an amazing show by the way). I patted myself on the back! I thought, “Wow, Brian you did a great job thinking that through!” I impressed everyone including myself by the way I evaluated the situation, thought it all through and pulled it off by my rational decision making. But did I? Really, did I? When I think about it now, I didn’t have time to analyze or logically evaluate a single decision. I simply pointed, made rash decisions, created motion and motivated people to move quickly. I made twenty decisions in a few seconds! If I evaluated each one as I typically do, we would have been there for two days before anyone lifted a finger. The bottom line is I didn’t think about any of it. I simply knew what had to be done and I provided a voice and a little direction to make it happen. Was I driven by logic or was I motivated by the emotion, stress and pressure of the situation?
At this point you are probably asking yourself why is this guy writing about this nonsense. Who is he? He is just some guy who started a blog a while back but hasn’t even written a word in several months. Why this and why now? Frankly, I am asking myself the same thing. I started this blog because it was logical, it made sense. I wanted to get back on track with my workouts and I thought that writing about it would motivate me and force me to be accountable for my workouts. As we have all figured out, it simply does not work that way! Why?
I started writing for the wrong reasons. I started working out for the wrong reasons. I thought it through, it made logical sense. Logical and rational reasoning does not always create motivation that leads to action. I have been sitting here thinking about writing and thinking about working out for several months. I know it is good for me to both of those things. I know I should work out to improve my health, feel better about myself and save myself a few dollars from buying new clothes. Did I start working out? No! Why? Because I just was not emotionally attached to the idea. I can rationalize all day about why I should work out and why I am not going to work out. Until something jabs me in the heart or in all actuality the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), the part of the brain that integrates visceral emotions into decision making, I am not going to lift a finger. Emotion creates motivation! When my client was crying, hyperventilating and stressed, I was motivated to solve the problem! Without emotion and feeling are brains have a difficult time making decisions. The question I am stuck with is not, “Why am I struggling with being motivated to work out?” It really is, “How do I emotionally attach myself to fitness and health?”
Thanks to a great lunch with a friend this week I am reconnecting writing to my heart and my OFC! Thanks Cris!
By the way, did you know that emotion, motion and motivation are all derived from the French word movere which originated in the 13th century?
“If it weren’t for emotions, reason wouldn’t exist at all.” ~ Jonah Lehrer