I was in the presence of a motivational expert who was tall, dark and handsome. By any standards, Hollywood, Wall Street, mothers looking for guys for their daughters, he was a standout.
Then he started to talk, and again he got stellar grades. He was engaging, funny, relevant, and deep. He was the kind of guy you want to hang out with, laugh with, and learn from. I must admit I was truly intrigued with him. Yet a nagging thought kept coming into my mind, kind of like a fly you swat and swat and it’s still there.
The meeting was in Philadelphia; you know the city of brotherly love. It was a Thursday afternoon. The month was June. It was sunny and late spring. So why do I give you all these useless or at least unnecessary details? Because what happened next let me see quickly that there were mosquitoes in this dreamy man’s paradise.
It went like this: he talked about how much he loved Pittsburgh. Oops! Then after he recouped from his blunder he made some brotherly love jokes. He later commented that he was glad the seminar was being held on Wednesday. Double oops. This is where he lost me, he said:
“Actually for me everyday is Wednesday. Why, you might ask. It’s because I’m so busy. There is no week-end stop for me. In that way I’m lucky. Without a week-end I don’t have to dread Monday or look forward to Friday. So, no matter what city I’m in and believe me I only get to see the inside of a car, a ballroom, and a hotel room, everyday is just a wonderful Wednesday!
Half of the audience applauded. The rest of us sat in stony silence wondering what he was motivating us to become. I had thoughts of robots from the future and serfs of old. I had a queasy feeling in my stomach as I left the program, or really the performance. This man was there talking about leadership development, team collaboration, how to do conflict resolution and how to have a full and joyful life. His ultimate theme was about “real power”.
That evening I googled him and learned he was in the midst of a pretty ugly legal battle with his ex-wife over child support. Some woman was claiming he was the father of her child and wanted DNA testing done. What looks good on the stage is not necessarily so behind the curtain. If this man epitomizes real power, I think I’ll pass!