Losing your balance

I was leading a management workshop one day when, suddenly, a huge TV fell on my head.

It didn’t just fall out of nowhere. The TV was on a tall stand, which I was moving to the side when the whole thing tipped over.

Not to brag, but usually you have to be about 8 years old to pull off this trick.

The TV was heavy and knocked me to the floor. The workshop stopped for a few minutes while I dusted myself off. I felt embarrassed.

“Large objects,” I remember thinking, “should never fall on your head in the middle of a workshop.”


Oh well. It’s easy to lose your balance—in presenting, and in life.

When presenting, some people twist themselves into a pretzel. That’s not a good look. Too unstable.

(Instead: stand with your feet shoulder-length apart, and your weight equally balanced. Breathe from your belly. Also, if possible, avoid head wounds.)

But even the pros fall.

Top fashion model, Jessica Stam, tripped while walking down a Paris runway. “I fell and got back up,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “It happens, and it’s no big deal.”

Franklin Roosevelt, paralyzed from the waist down since age 39, fell while being helped to the stage at the 1936 Democratic Convention. The papers of his speech went flying.

“Clean me up,” he told his aides, “and keep your feet off those damned sheets” (from “FDR,” by Jean Edward Smith).

Moments later, Roosevelt was at the podium, telling a live audience of 100,000 that they had “a rendezvous with destiny.”

Most hadn’t noticed his stumble.

Tip: Life knocks you down. We all know that. The call is to get back up.

Best wishes for 2012—and the challenges, known and unknown, that await.

© Copyright 2012 Paul Hellman. All rights reserved.

Loading Comments...

Catch up with The Boston Globe for free.
Get The Globe's free newsletter, Today's Headlines, every morning.
Thanks for signing up!
Job Doc
We remember Bob Gatti
March 13, 2017 | 7:30 AM
Job Doc
Snoozing on the Clock
March 8, 2017 | 11:28 AM