Posts Tagged ‘hell in a hand basket’

Re-booting With Brian Williams and Tiger Woods

February 17, 2015

We have, in the case studies of golf phenom Tiger Woods and NBC News anchor Brian Williams, two different examples of what it can look like when the Universe forces an individual to re-boot. Of course, there are innumerable examples of the mighty falling, but Williams and Woods are so high profile that we all have a rough idea what happened, which is why they are highlighted in this post.


Williams was taken down by outside pressure as a result of being caught out in some lies regarding his field reporting, whereas Woods voluntarily removed himself from competition following a series of abysmal tournament performances. Williams inflated his importance. Woods appears to be lost in a crisis of conscience. Different men. Different reasons. Different failings. Same need to re-boot. Celebrities! They’re Just Like Us!


It seems to me that Williams’ actions of self aggrandizement stem from a desire to enhance his personal brand. Nobody forced him to “conflate” the helicopter stories; nobody suggested that he claim he witnessed corpses floating past the New Orleans Ritz—he did this to himself. Our friend Icarus comes to mind. So, what does this mean? It means that, underneath it all, Williams didn’t believe who he was was good enough. Know anybody like that?


Ok, so let’s shift gears and look at the Tiger Woods example. Things haven’t gone well for Tiger, but for reasons very different from those of Brian Williams. There are many theories as to why Tiger’s game has gone kaput, ranging from an aching body to swing adjustments to a loss of confidence which could reflect deeper problems in his personal life. Whatever it is, after flaming out, Tiger decided he needed to take a break, step back, and reevaluate his game. Unlike Williams, he made this choice of his own volition.


Of course, few of us have to endure our re-booting process in the glare of the public eye, which is a very good thing, but that doesn’t make it any less hard—we all have audiences of our own: our families, our friends, our coworkers, and most importantly, ourselves. And, you don’t have to have done anything “bad” to trigger this process. People who experience sudden loss face the same dilemma as those who bring about their own disgrace. In fact, the reason for the re-boot is far less important than the process of re-booting as long as the person aims to move forward with integrity. It doesn’t matter why everything went to hell in a hand basket. The point is it did. Now what?


Who do you know who’s experiencing a forced re-boot? What happened? How are they handling it? How do you think they will manage their lives going forward?


When things go awry, there are many heavy questions a re-booter needs to ask of himself if he wants to build a better future. He needs to have the courage to answer these honestly and probe further to determine if there are additional, better answers. Don’t just stop at the first one. This can be a humbling and surprising process and the answers don’t, necessarily, present themselves in the immediate aftermath of the “triggering event.” In fact, I strongly believe that the quiet wisdom we are seeking will often only surface after we have recovered from our initial shock, after we’ve groped about in the darkness, at some unexpected moment like when we’re taking a shower or driving to the store or staring at a stranger. In other words, we need time. We need to have the patience and the faith that the answers will present themselves if we are brave enough to listen. (Having the answer and actually doing something about it are two different things.)


As terrifying and awful as it is to feel as though we have hit rock bottom, the good news is that there’s no place to go but up. The expression “a bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn,” comes to mind. What ties into this is that even with the mess that is our lives, we retain the talents and skills we had before this difficult period began. Williams still knows how to perform well on tv. Tiger knows the game of golf from the inside out. And you, you still have all the talents you had before. Don’t minimize this.


The biggest fraud in the world retains her ability to win people over. Can she utilize this talent with integrity? Of course she can! A brilliant politician hasn’t lost his ability to render useful analysis of a situation just because he lost the election or was convicted of some malfeasance. Let’s say your friend loses their entire family in a tragedy. Awful, to be sure, but that doesn’t wipe out their preexisting talent for cooking or their sensitivity to the feelings of others. What I am trying to provide here are very different scenarios in which each person is forced to re-boot; the reason or culpability factor are, in many ways, irrelevant. There are fifty shades of re-booting and you probably fall into one of them.


It’s what you do next that counts.


I’m going to tell you what I’d tell Tiger or Brian—all is not lost. You continue to have strengths and talents that you can utilize. Be open to new directions or opportunities—even if they don’t sound all that great. Set your ego aside—much of the time, it’s what gets us into trouble, anyway. Remember that you have a lot of positives, that you’ve achieved worthwhile things. If you commit to doing the best, most honest job you can, life holds promise of good things to come…

Blue screen


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