That Moment of Panic: When You’ve Made a Big Boo-Boo

big mistake

That moment when you are supposed to have called into the conference line and you are confused and slightly off…… and 236 people are waiting on the line for you to dial in. Horrors!

This was not a nightmare but something that actually happened.   What’s even more strange is that I’d spent the whole dangnabbed morning (swinging incense and sitting in lotus) getting ready and mentally preparing for that call.


When my friend Anna finally called my landline (she was holding down the call solo), I answered the phone with glee thinking that she simply wanted to touch base prior to our big call.

Within seconds I realized that those two hundred plus people were waiting….for me.  I was thinking I still had 30 minutes to get ready!

I tried to get a grip on myself as my whole body went into a cascade of adrenaline release- heart pounding…stomach lurching…breath holding…oh lord.

I hung up and ran into the bedroom and locked the door behind me- hoping the kids would notice that I was on a call (I had mentioned it earlier) and then with shaking fingers dialed into the conference line.

I was feeling shame (how could I have messed up?) and embarrassment (would the lovely callers think I was an a flake or worse- a callous cad!)

I got on the line, the recording got started and,  I managed to say something intelligible about why writing is so dear to me and why I would love to support others who want to write. I did not blather or confabulate.

My beautiful class partner Anna showed up gleaming and centered which, I’m convinced, saved the day. There were wonderful callers with fantastic questions. It went swimmingly.

After I hung up- my mind kept wanting to return to the scene of the crime. What happened? How did things go do horribly wrong? Should I have burned sage instead of pinion wood?

Despite my human foibles (2 alarms on my iphone and weeks of thinking about the call were apparently not enough to get me there), I survived.

I am reminded that I’m responsible to do the very best I can…to be prepared.…and…..often the Universe steps in (as needed) to carry me along. And things aren’t as terrible as I imagine they might be…..

…in fact they are often perfect.

Have you recently experienced panic or sensed that you botched up royally despite the best of intentions/preparation?

What was the outcome?

What insights could you take from that experience forward?

As for me, I’m  going to keep on swinging incense , sitting in lotus and being prepared.…knowing the rest is out of my hands.

Namaste, Sarah

If you can relate to this tale of woe….you might just enjoy my latest bookie Born to FREAK:)  I wrote it just for you.


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  1. Amy Steindler on September 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Oh, Sarah! I know this feeling all too well. During my career as a wealth advisor, even the smallest mistake would bring on the biggest heart-pounding, adrenaline-fed shame-fest. And the boss never showed up “gleaming and centered,” but madder than a hatter and ready to fan the shame flame. As coaches, we are so lucky to have each other, and to believe in the generosity of the souls we are connected to as we surf through the panic and back to solid ground. (Apologies for the mixed metaphors, but it’s just that kind of morning.)

    Loved this post and will pass it on.

    • Sarah Seidelmann on September 4, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Ooof how awful to have those experiences- or to make them mean something other than just a boo-boo, and nothing more:) Thank you Amy for being one of those generous souls and fantastic collaborators!

  2. Sarah Yost on September 4, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Nope. Never happens to me.

    omg. Yes it does.

    I love that Brene Brown says it takes her about 20 minutes to get back on her feet after a shame storm. This is so much more forgiving and accessible to me than thinking I have to NOT have a shame storm or CLAW MY EVERLOVING SELF OUT OF the shame storm. Shame happens. It will pass. It always passes. It doesn’t mean anything about who I am as a person even though it sure feels like it in the moment.

    • Sarah Seidelmann on September 17, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Yes- shame passes!! Whats is so funny is how I am the *great forgetter* in that as many times as these things have happened- it doesn’t mean that I will feel less awful the next time– but I can intend that I do, lol:) Thanks Sarah!

  3. marie on September 12, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    oh really, thank you, i thought i was alone, even thought i know i am not alone, it always feels like you are alone doing those silly not planned unwilling stuff… but you’re not. and yes each time you survive and each time you feel awful and want to hide under the bed for a few years so everybody forget about you… Thank you.
    Every so often i find people blushing after saying something akward in a conversation. and then i smile to them with great compassion. and usually i join in ! i don’t know if it saves the moment, but it create a bound with that person at least.

    • Sarah Seidelmann on September 28, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      So lovely Marie! Compassion in action:)

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