Kris Carr, author/star of Crazy Sexy Cancer (and her new book Crazy Sexy Life) asks, “what’s your sh*t pickle?” What she is asking is, what is your cancer, your crisis, maybe even your divorce? What is the problem that inspires you to learn and to change your life? I really want to rock a t-shirt that says, “What’s YOUR Sh*t Pickle?” Why she isn’t selling those, I really don’t understand, they’d sell like hotcakes! But, I digress (as usual).
I was at a business meeting this week. There were three of us at the lunch table and we were making the usual bogus small talk, “How are you?” “Oh fine, thank you, how are you?” and then one of the guys at the table said, “Do you want to know the truth or should I just say I’m fine?” Soooo…that’s a red flag, and being relatively kind human beings, myself and the other guy at the table said (I’ll admit, I was a little scared), “tell us the truth!” He announced that his wife had just told him she wanted a divorce and that he hadn’t expected, or wanted to end his marriage. He looked like a deer in the headlights, or a guy whose wife just unexpectedly announced she wanted a divorce.
I expressed how sad I was for him. I told him that it gets better and that this was the hardest part. I made a joke about feeling like you were on the downward cycle of a toilet flush (he didn’t laugh). I’m a divorce attorney, people tell me about their divorces all the time, I express sympathy and maybe try to help them out of the awkwardness by sharing that I’ve been through it (“I believe in my product”, haha, and all that). I thought that we would then change the subject, talk about something business-like to lighten the mood, like marketing or business referrals – woohoo! And then the most amazing and gracious thing happened.
The other guy at the table shared his sh*t pickle. With tremendous bravery and in a huge act of GRACE – he shared that he had been taken by surprise when HIS wife announced she wanted a divorce a few years earlier. He shared that he hadn’t wanted to end his marriage. He shared that there were days he couldn’t get out of bed because he was so sad. We both told the “new guy” that it was okay to get help, to get meds, to dump all this sadness and grief on his family and friends. We shared that he was going to be okay and we knew that because we’d been there and we’d made it through to the other side.
I can’t say that we saved his life or that we changed the world (he did change his lunch order from a salad to a cheeseburger, I consider that a victory). But I believe in sharing your sh*t pickle.
I believe that when we make ourselves vulnerable by sharing the pain we’ve been through, we make life better. Maybe just for ourselves. Maybe just for that guy at the table that just got his heart broken. But it’s better than suffering in silence and shame. Today, I’m asking that you practice being vulnerable, practice taking a risk that you won’t look perfect. Do it for the good of mankind, and cheeseburgers.
I have been to a lot of business events where I walked away thinking, “Seriously, not all of your kids can be honor students that are headed to Harvard on a soccer scholarship.” Where is the person that admits, “My kid got a C in math, I gained 10 pounds in the last two months, and my husband just got laid off”? I read the papers, I know what a bell curve is and some of you are out there, people! I’ve been to enough AYSO games to know, a lot of our kids suck at soccer.
I’m challenging you to practice sharing your sh*t pickle. Just try a little one – share a failed project, share your kid’s B-, share an unrealistic dream – and then share with us on Twitter or Facebook what happens next. I have a good feeling about this…