What about when you lose frame? What then? How much damage have you done?
The truth is you’re going to stumble sometimes. The new leadership behaviors you’re practicing aren’t natural to you, yet, and there are times when you’re just going to lose it. You’re going to share your owies with your wife, you’re going to yell at your kids once in a while, you’re going to look foolish in some way. It’s unavoidable in the same way that making mistakes when you learn a new sport is unavoidable.
It’s okay to stumble; the really important part is getting back up. That’s where the magic takes place. When you mess up, but are able to own it and move on, it’s actually a display of high value. A guy who can do this is extremely attractive to women. Bonus points if you can laugh at yourself in the process.
So what does this look like in real life?
Against your wife’s objections, you’re trying a new bedtime routine to get the kids to bed quicker. It’s been going well and you’ve been feeling pretty smug about it, but tonight your son decides to test your limits. It’s been a tough day at work, it’s been six nights since you’ve had sex, you want to get your wife in the mood, and you have no patience for this crap tonight.
You try to follow your new procedure, but by the fifth time the kid gets out of bed, you grab him by the shoulders and yell at him to get to bed before he gets hurt.
Okay, not a shining moment. You walk back downstairs where your wife’s eyes are burning holes through you. The silence is deafening.
Well, now you’ve got a couple of choices.
Option 1 A really common choice I see my coaching clients make is to ignore the whole thing. Just pretend it didn’t happen. Don’t mention it to your wife and hope she won’t bring it up. Except you know that’s not going to work. Even if your wife doesn’t bring it up herself, you both know it happened. She’s waiting to see how you’re going to handle it. This is the moment of truth.
Option 2 You try to excuse your way out of it by whining to your wife about what a lousy day you’ve had. You’re just so frustrated with work, and why can’t she do a better job at disciplining the kids and if you got more damned sex, you wouldn’t be so grumpy to begin with. Ouch. You just took a -1 and turned it into a -10.
Option 3 Just own it. Quietly and simply admit what happened. “Man, I really lost it in there. I feel frustrated and I need to go cool off.” Then get out. I don’t care where. Just leave. If you stay and talk about it, you’re just going to lose it and make things worse. Go for a walk. Go work out. Go hammer some nails. Go punch inanimate objects. Get the stress out of your system.
When you go back home, apologize sincerely to your wife. One time, no more. The next day, apologize once to your son. That’s it. Now put it behind you and move forward. Don’t over-compensate, don’t lose frame. Get back on that horse. If your wife brings it up again, let her know that you’re not going to apologize again, you’re simply going to do better.
By doing this, you turn a -1 into a +10. You can actually increase attraction by making mistakes and then owning them. Everyone messes up. It takes a strong man to own his mistakes and correct them.
It’s what divides the men from the boys.