Whether you are a fan of the human drama of shows like The X Factor or not; whether you are like me and need to keep a box of tissues nearby when you watch Undercover Boss or Secret Millionaire, you can take a few lessons from this video of Christopher Maloney’s audition. (I say it is worth the nine minutes to watch it.)


The context is decisive. The first law of performance (Zaffron & Logan, 2009) states, “How people perform correlates to how situations occur to them.” What a dramatic example of how one interprets a set of conditions colors and shapes the experience and the performance! Why do some athletes rise to the occasion during a championship while others crash and burn? If getting up on stage occurs as an opportunity to share your gifts and entertain the crowd, you are likely to have a very different performance than if the situation occurs as a threat to your looking good and a place where you will be judged as inadequate.

When feeling stressed or worried, it can be very powerful to connect to strengths and who/what you care about. Notice how the questions “Who is your biggest fan?” and “Who supports you?” begin to shift Christopher.

“Future-based language transforms how situations occur to people,” states the third law of performance. We are given by the future we are living into. Creating a future alters how the present occurs. Notice the continued shift after the question,  “What would it mean for you to get through today?”

These three lessons are useful in every situation you are dealing with. And if you were moved to tears, that’s a bonus.

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