I was doing some group coaching yesterday. And somebody told me to share this story with the group. It happened about 6 months ago and I had already forgotten about it. But for this person it had had a very positive impact. So I guess that means it’s worth sharing with you as well 😉
The Angry Shop Manager
I don’t really remember what I did the night before. All I remember is that was late.
(Edit: Now I remember. I had gone on a spontaneous midnight road trip with my band mates to visit the houses of all the characters of our favorite kids TV show from the 90’s. But that’s a different story 😉)
So yeah. It was late. And not even a little bit. It was the kind of late where you realize the next day is not going to be a fun one. Especially not when you have to work in the morning.
Back then I was working at a clothing store by the beach. It was far from my dream job. But I liked my co-workers. And of course I wasn’t going to bail on work just because I had made unwise choices the night before.
So I got myself about 2 hours of shut-eye and hopped on the train.
I arrived at work, proud that I had made on time. But everyone was staring at me in surprise.
Apparently I wasn’t supposed to come in that day. To quote a yellow-skinned man who’s much older wiser than me: D’oh!
I had to laugh at myself because the situation was so ironic. The one day where I decide to pull an all nighter before work, turned out to be a day where I could’ve slept in if I wanted to.
I could’ve been in bed feeling great by now. But no… Instead I had to make a mistake in my calendar, spend money on train tickets and deny myself a beauty sleep for no real reason at all.
I decided to drink a few coffees and chat with my co-workers for an hour to justify the loss of sleep.
I ended up leaving the shop a little bit too late to catch my train back home. So I started rushing . I didn’t want to wait another hour. But then I saw something from the corner of my eye that made me slow down.
It was a woman.
She was working in one of the stores I ran past. And there was something extraordinary about her.
It made me stop in my tracks like a cat who smells a can of tuna.
Because the thing is, I rarely meet anyone I feel attracted to. I can appreciate the beauty in almost all the women I see. I easily love people’s unique personalities right away when I meet them. But it very rarely happens that someone really makes my body tingle in the right places.
And when someone does that for me, I know it would be a sin of omission if I don’t at least go talk to them.
After a few seconds of slowing down, I snapped back to reality, and the thoughts started coming:
“Fuck! Why is this happening right now. I’m already late for my train. I have no time to talk to her. What do I do?”
“It doesn’t matter anyway . She’s gorgeous and impeccably dressed. I’ve barely slept. I probably look like a crack addict today. My breath smells of coffee. I didn’t shower this morning. It’s not like I’d make a very good first impression.”
“There are no customers in the store. It’s just her and her boss. I could walk in there all smelly and do it anyway… But I’m sure her boss would get angry at me. and tell me to stop harassing her employees. At least that’s what happens when someone tries to hit on my co-workers. And it would be understandable…”
“Anyway. It doesn’t matter. I already walked too far. I passed her store at least 2 minutes ago. Time to catch the train now.”
But as I walked on, I started to get that weird feeling in my stomach. You may know the feeling I’m talking about. It’s the one you get when your emotions are trying to let you know that the way you’re acting is not in alignment with the person you truly are. The person you’ve always been underneath the big pile of mental chatter and clever self-deception.
So I said to myself. “Fuck it. It’s clear what my heart wants me to do here. If my breath smells bad, I’ll leave. If the shop manager gets mad at me, I’ll apologize. If I’m too late for the train, I’ll run.”
I went back to the store in a hurry, I walked up to the girl. I now found her mopping the sidewalk in front of the store.
I stopped her, looked her in the eyes and said “Listen. I know you’re working. And I’m actually in a hurry to catch my train. But I think you are absolutely gorgeous. And it wouldn’t feel right to not at least come back and tell you that. Have a great day!”
She reacted very positively “Oh my God. Thank you for doing that. You really made my day.”.
In that moment I realized that actually getting to know her or getting a date with her wasn’t even that important to me. What was important was expressing what I felt. I had spoken my truth, it made someone happy. Nothing bad happened. And I would still be on time. We greeted each other and I started walking on.
But then something did happen…
Her boss came running out of the store and started yelling at me.
“HEY!! YOU!! STOP!! WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?”
“I SAID STOP! WHAT WERE YOU DOING BACK THERE?”
I stopped for a second and told her what I had just said to her employee.
The shop manager smiled at me.
“She’s a pretty lady isn’t she?” (I saw her blushing in the background.)
“She sure is.” I replied.
“And she’s single too. So go and catch your train now. But you can’t just treat her like that. You have to promise you’ll come back here later this week to finish your conversation. ”
I saw the girl looking at me with expecting puppy eyes, so I said “Deal” and started running like a motherfudger to the railway station. Jumping on the train exactly 1 second before I heard the conductor’s whistle. Mission accomplished.
Maybe I was supposed to be at work that day after all 😉
The Point of This Story
Whenever you want to do something that feels uneasy or risky, your brain will come up with a shit ton of reasons why you shouldn’t do it. And they will all sound very reasonable and true. So it’s easy get convinced by them.
Yes. I smelled bad. Yes I looked tired from spending too many midnight hours visiting the houses of my favorite kids TV-show characters.
I also was afraid her boss would start yelling at me if I talked to her. And even that part was true.
But still. It ended much better than anything my brain would’ve come up with.
Because that’s the thing. You can’t predict the future. The only way to know what will happen is to try it out.
If you think your brain is smart enough to accurately know how reality works, think again. There are too many variables. Nobody can predict the future.
Are you afraid of getting on stage because the crowd will laugh at you? How do you know that’s true? Have you tried it recently?
Do you think your crush will reject you if you tried to kiss him? Do it anyway. The worst that can happen is a few uncomfortable seconds and no kiss. The best that can happen is a honeymoon.
You may think you’re sure something bad is gonna happen. But you know what, you’re not sure. You think you are. But you can never be sure. And truth be told: For most of us, our brain has a terrible track record of predicting the future.
We all run stories in our head about how we think things are gonna go. But if you look back on your life so far: How many times did those predictions actually come true?
No matter how realistic the negative scenarios seem. Just do it anyway. Unless it leads to death or injury, the worst that can happen is usually not that bad . And even if it’s still kind of bad. It probably won’t happen anyway. So slap your self in the face and decide to put reality to the test.
Maybe that crowd will laugh when you get on stage, but out of pure joy instead.
Maybe he’ll reject your kiss for a second and then kiss you anyway. Because he likes to tease.
Maybe you’ll ask for donations on your blog and believe it’s impossible to ever work. But then all of a sudden, people start sending you money anyway.
Life is unpredictable.
So whenever you find yourself thinking you can predict how something will go:
That means it’s a good day to prove yourself wrong, nostradanus 😉