TJ And the Cat Lady

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Sometimes people think the life of a media trainer is all glamour. It's about hanging out training celebrities, famous politicians flying first class thing in exotic places like Paris and Bangkok. And it is true. I've done all those things, but it's not all glamorous. I remember once early in my career, this is more than a couple of decades ago, I was conducting immediate training for a political candidate in central South Florida. This was a candidate for the state legislature.

And as I often did, then and occasionally do now the training was taking place at the trainees home because all I really need is a television I bring video camera lights, microphone, I walk into the house with my partner at the time, Stan, and instantly, something was wrong. I don't have a particularly sensitive sense of smell. But all of a sudden It was like, oh, like being punched in the nose. Because the stench of Cat Cat feces, cat urine and whatever cat stuff else was so overwhelming. It almost knocked me down. Walk into the industry.

I'm supposed to spend the next eight hours. Walk in, sit down. My partner Stan quickly said Oh, I just remembered another meeting I have to go to. I'll see you at five. He got out of there quickly. Smart move.

He's smarter than me. And the candidate comes up to me and says Oh, great. Looking forward to working with you. Would you like a snack? Sure. So she brought me a doughnut on a tray.

The tray is covered with cat here. The donut is covered with cat here. I look at the floor, the chairs everything in the house has about a quarter inch to a half inch cat here. I suddenly said, You know what, I think I'm on a diet. Today I'm gonna pass on the doughnut, but thanks. We do the training.

I'm trying not to get physically ill. We do the training pretty much as we always do get her on camera numerous times, refined her message, all of that it's lunchtime Now those of you who've ever been in a training with me or know me, you know, I've never skipped lunch once in my life. I like lunch. I like all three meals. I don't skip meals. Maybe I should, but I don't. So she offered me lunch, a sandwich.

I look at the sandwich. It's on a plate. The plate is covered with cat hair set and I don't like to do this. I don't think I do this very often. Try not to do this, but I lied. I said Oh, you know what?

I'm just not hungry. Thanks anyway. I couldn't imagine stomaching something covered with cat here. She did also offer me some potato chips. They were on the table, and I saw it was all covered up in a nice cellophane bag. I thought maybe that's safe.

I opened the bag, looked at the chip, no cat hair ate it tasted pretty good. I ate another one. I'm just starving to death at this point. I need another one. That ate the whole bag. At least I'm not in pain anymore.

And the chips weren't that bad. When I finished the bag. I turned it over and I looked at the expiration date. June 12 1989. At this point, it's about 1994. These chips were so beyond expiration date.

It wasn't even funny. Again. My stomach is like we continue the training all day long. And I do think I helped a client. I did help the candidate. She got better and better and better, and was better prepared for her state legislative race.

It wasn't the most enjoyable day certainly the most glamorous day I've ever had as a media trainer, but you know, I got through it. I didn't let the fact that my nose was under assault stopped me. I didn't let the fact that I was practically starving to death stop me, I did my best and I focused on the clients need and I try not to whine or be a baby about it. Okay, so why do I tell that story? I don't use this story very often, but certainly in a question and answer session. When someone's asking me about life as a media trainer, or if I'm speaking to a Toastmasters group where a lot of people sort of aspire to be a presentation coach, media coach, they do find it incredibly interesting.

And they think of it as all glamour so it's useful to let them see There is another side to it. But I also want them to know that if you're going to be good at it, and as I like to think I am, you have to ignore things that would just bother most people to the point where they couldn't function and just do the job. That's what I try to do. Regardless of the obstacles regardless of anyone else's attitude, regardless of horrible stench in the room. I just do my job. And that's the message

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