As nearly 300 people filed into the general session, staff was placing either a black dot or a pink dot on everyone's badge. They just put a black dot on my badge and I knew what it meant! I was not chosen for the elite group -- the group I knew I belonged in!
I reacted by immediately trying to peel off the dot with my thumb nail, but no luck. I smoothed it back out but the white crinkles from where it bunched together for two seconds, gave it away. If anyone cared why my black dot was different than theirs, that is.
Were you always -- or pretty much always -- picked last for any team in school?
Year after year you would wait with anticipation and that knot in your stomach ... almost hearing your name called before a name was called? And it was not yours?
Of course no one can always be first -- although there did seem to be some kids that were. They absolutely tipped the scales in having multiple 'turns' -- but not you. Not me either.
I had forgotten that 'sick feeling' until a few weeks ago when it hit me like a two-by-four ... and I was faced with another rejection -- this one more than half a century later! You would think by now something like this would not take me by surprise and cause a instantaneous reaction!
I wasn't good enough! I didn't make the grade! Never mind that I had decided that if I was chosen (pink dot)I was not going to register in the program anyway. So the point should have been moot, right? But it was not.
Amid the crowd, before entering the room, I slipped by my friend's (Dee) sponsor table, held up my badge and mouthed, "see I told you I wasn't chosen." She just smiled and I hustled inside for the next session.
What I didn't know until much later was that Dee also had a black dot.
That could be explained away because she just finished doing the 'winning program.'
Another friend (Sue) also had a black dot.
Sue came up with a clever explanation ... she was registered in another program that was just getting started so they wouldn't pick her.
The 'dot' criteria included a screen test, head shot, style evaluation, 'wow' factor, and short pitch. I had the pitch down pat and at the last minute decided to tell my story rather than what they asked. As a result when being evaluated on my pitch, several items had no value because I 'never got there.' The two most important ones -- I scored 8 and 9 out of 10.
So why the black dot for me?
And why at my age and I still worrying about being picked?
And why are the other people experiencing this same thing?
The night before I was helping my friend and became a little agitated trying to get through a sea of people into the breakout room. One of the staff outside the door saw this, smiled, and put their hand on my shoulder (to calm me down). So of course, I figured when the staff got together to choose black dot or pink dot, they were sure that I would be way too much trouble "a hot mess" they said. So therefore the black dot.
Doing things 'wrong' again. Not being 'smart enough.' And the list goes on, right?
That sinking feeling -- when they are picking teams for kickball what seems like 100 years ago as your name is not called ... and not called ... and not called ... Really? Over a black dot or a pink dot?
I found days later during a phone conversation with another friend (Robin) ... that she had a similar experience when she got the dreaded black dot.
She was also baffled about why she was not chosen. She came up with a couple of good explanations.
We made up reasons why we were not chosen and it had to do with our self worth -- our coming up short in some way. Those reasons were reactive and emotional and not at all a representation of the work we do in personal development.
I know that what we believe is a perfect match to our results. It showed me that I have a hidden, limiting belief about being selected and the importance I place on it, that needs reshaping. It's not hard to do at all. The challenge is 'seeing' and distinguishing that reactivity for yourself. Then the belief building process can begin.
The rest of the story ....
I entered the room with all the people with black dots on their badges, and took a seat. My friend Sue came over and whispered in my ear, laughing "we were both wrong!"
"What do you mean," I whispered back. Sue said, "the "black dot" IS the WINNING dot! We were CHOSEN!"
The black dot was the pink dot!
All of us saw the black dot as a limitation. All of us found ourselves reactivated by a childhood belief we had not yet dealt with. I thought of being 'black balled' when I saw the dot.
We all had a good laugh and realized that even as experts in our field, there is always something to learn and refine in ourselves as humans growing and living into our optimum potential.