Here – Kitty, Kitty: Tell me what you are great at!

“Would you like to share my lunch?”

It was one of those nights. A combination of music, fun and a large drop of alcohol had ‘opened up the emotional pores.’   We were flying without wings. Eventually, the conversation turned to the maddest/most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done (and would be happy to share). As the Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohan said: most people have a public life, a private life and a secret life! (these high heels are killing me).

Isle of Man: One of the group told the following story. Some years back, he’d attended the Isle of Man TT races, the biggest biking event in the calendar. He’d travelled to the venue in a large camper van – which just happened to have a ‘half-door’ – similar to an old farmhouse you’d see in rural Ireland. They parked up at the side of a main thoroughfare. As the night was balmy, the ‘half-door’ was left open to let in air. But, this was misconstrued. People kept calling over to the Caravan asking for a menu, looking for late night food. So, in a moment of inspiration, they opened two tins of Kitty Cat (food for his cat in Dublin was stored in the caravan) and they fed the masses. Apparently, the cat food went down a ‘bomb’ (they suggested that it was an old Turkish Kebab recipe). People complimented them on the unique flavour and the fact that they were distributing free food! So outrageous, it’s actually funny.

Your Biggest Secret: In kicking off that conversation about the ‘maddest night in history’, I was inspired by a great talent. Irv Yalom is perhaps the world’s best-known psychotherapist. Yalom has conducted an experiment in 14 different countries asking his patients: “What’s the one thing that you would not want this group to know about you?”

Faced with this question, most people immediately think of some drunken escapade (like the Cat food story) or some sexual indiscretion. But, when you discount those one-off stories, the issue that stands head and shoulders above everything else is as follows: ‘I wouldn’t like this group to know that I’m not as confident as they think I am.’ In other words, a red thread of insecurity is hard wired into most of us – across all cultures.   At times, almost everyone feels insecure and unsure – despite our (sometimes) outward bravado. For some, it’s a constant dread. It’s as if the air leaks out of our ‘confidence tyre’ and continually needs to be pumped up.

Building Confidence: In the executive coaching world this issue continually resurfaces. I meet executives who, by implication, are smart enough to get into senior roles. Many have 2 kids, 3 cars and 4 houses. Most have more degrees than a thermometer. But what do they want to talk about? Deficiencies. Things they are ‘brutal’ at. Where they’ve screwed up. And so on. I have to work hard to remind them that their success brought them into the room in the first place. We focus on what’s working really well, alongside what’s broken. In the great song W.O.L.D. (about a regretful DJ), Harry Chapin sings:

“Sometimes I get this crazy dream to just drive off in my car

But you can travel on 10,000 miles and still stay where you are”

In other words, we ‘carry the world inside our head’ – regardless of where we live or our external circumstances. In terms of building happiness, gaining confidence is Job #1. This is not narcissism or false bravado. It’s about building an inner security, a quiet self-belief. And, here’s the bonus. If you acquire this, you have a good chance of passing on confidence to your kids through role modeling.If confidence is on your worry agenda, do something to fix it.

Some people are so busy rescuing others, that they don’t look after themselves. In your mission to ‘save the world’, working on yourself is an excellent starting point. As they say in the airline safety demonstrations: Put your own mask on first.


Ps Lighter Notes: Eclectic mix of stuff today… from the pen of Aidan Cahill (look away now if you are sensitive…) 

A Woman’s Dog is Drowning in the Sea. A passing German Dwarf

dives in, pulls out the Dog, resuscitates it & saves its life.

“Are you a Little Vet?” Asked the Woman

“A Little Vet?” said the German Dwarf. “I’m f**king soaked”!

Blond Jokes (Brunettes secretly love them): A blonde gets a job as a teacher. She notices a boy in the field standing alone, while all the other kids are running around having fun. She takes pity on him and wanders across the yard.

‘You ok?’ she says.

‘Yep.’ he says.

‘You can go and play with the other kids you know.’ she says.

‘It’s best I stay here.’ he says.

‘Why?’ says the blonde.

The boy says: ‘Because, I’m the goalie’

Tim O Neill suggested the following Oxymoron’s…

  • Clearly misunderstood
  • Exact estimate
  • Small crowd
  • Pretty ugly
  • Only choice
  • Act naturally
  • Found missing
  • Fully empty
  • Seriously funny
  • Original copies
  • Happily married (that’s his personal favourite)

 From Cillian Mooney (there’s hope for that lad yet!).

 Wife says to her Programmer husband: “Go to the store and buy a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, buy a dozen.” The husband returned with 12 loaves of bread.

 My friend said to me: “What rhymes with Orange?” I replied: “No, it doesn’t.”

“I told my girlfriend she drew her eyebrows too high. She seemed surprised.”

Check our website or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organization development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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