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Leaders Have to Learn to Laugh at Ourselves

By Joey Havens

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It’s easy to get so busy, stressed, down or sometimes “self-important,” that we forget who we are and what’s really important to us.  I know that I experience those feelings sometimes and one of the tricks that I use to bring myself back to earth or pull myself out of a slump is to simply laugh at myself.  We all really do some funny things when you stop to think about it.  On one of my recent trips, I started thinking about the stupid things I had done at airports.  Unfortunately, there are several stories I could tell you, but today I will just share the most recent incident. 

When my youngest daughter turned 21, my wife and I took all three of our girls to Las Vegas to celebrate.  As you might expect, I had my hands full with the baggage that these four ladies were taking.  I needed a U-Haul truck! We were on time to the airport (a small miracle in itself) as we pulled next to curb in front of the Delta unloading area.  

Being the savvy and experienced travel guide that I am, I helped everyone get their baggage unloaded and weighed (all overweight of course), checked everyone in, gave out tickets, and we headed off to security and then on to our gate. That’s when my beautiful plan went south.  

I heard my name being called over the loudspeaker. My wife immediately said, “What’s wrong?” Something terrible has happened, I thought. Then it hit me like a sledgehammer! BAM! Our car was still parked outside on the curb in front of the Delta ticket counter.  I flew out of the airport and met a less than happy police officer who was already calling the tow truck.  He ripped me up one side and down the other. I explained that I had just unloaded four women with luggage, and it took longer than I had anticipated.  I didn’t mention I was stupid enough to have gone through security and headed to my gate.  

I apologized profusely and he finally let me move my car.  Needless to say when I got back to the girls, they had lost a little faith in their savvy travel guide.  After I shared the details of my encounter with the cop, we all laughed until we cried. I was so embarrassed.  Lesson learned: After unloading the car at the airport, always go park immediately.  Do not check in, park first. 

Never underestimate the importance of laughter.  Stop sometime when you are feeling stressed or a little “self-important,” and share a funny story about yourself to another team member.  It feels great and helps ground us in ways that make us better.  Laughter promotes lots of positive energy for teams and their leader.

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