Hey Ya’ll, it’s the ARM Dude here! I have a confession to make today regarding a guilty pleasure of mine. As a man in my late 40’s I have tried to keep this a secret for several years now. The shame that my family and I might encounter if anyone finds out has weighed on me considerably. Numerous people in the business of helping people improve their personal and professional lives have written articles or books that reinforce this shame each time I read their materials. A recent article I read talked about the importance of facing one’s fears head on so that you can get them behind you in order to replace them with positive thoughts. I am taking that advice to heart by writing this blog today. Whoa, this is difficult to say but I am trusting that ya’ll will be there to support me through this difficult admission. OK, here I go, “I am a fan of the American Idol Show”.

I didn’t mean for it to happen. I don’t even remember for sure how it happened. I believe it occurred during the tryouts for the initial season of the show. I walked past the TV and saw numerous people auditioning. The majority of those trying out were terrible. So terrible in fact that they made me feel good about my singing abilities. You should know that I am an awful singer. I used to sing every now and then when no one was around to hear. That stopped after having surgery to repair a bum ear. The surgery improved my hearing enough that I could hear just how bad I really am at it. Lip syncing couldn’t make me sound good. Now I “think sing”. This means I silently sing in my head. I am proud to say that I am an awesome “think singer”. OK, enough about my lack of singing abilities, back to my confession.

That initial introduction to American Idol hooked me. Simon Cowell’s harsh and somewhat illustrative critiques kept me watching because I was completely shocked by his brutally honest remarks. In my neck of the woods we were taught that if you didn’t have anything nice to say then say something nice. People from my area understand they still have some improvements to make when they hear you say “That’s nice.” We have learned to get our message across without ripping out the heart of another and shredding all hint of self confidence that they may possess. Needless to say, Simon isn’t from my neck of the woods.

I kept struggling with this secret of mine throughout the show’s first season. I kept hearing the voices telling me that I was wasting my time watching tv when I should be preparing myself for the next discussion or presentation with each of my prospects. I kept trying to justify why the time spent watching was beneficial to me.

The justification that I was searching for finally came to me after I had watched numerous seasons. I found that I became less entertained by the audition train wrecks or Simon’s nasty nature. Now I was hooked because it gave me an opportunity to watch individuals react to the extreme pressures that this competition presents. Each week, would present an opportunity to watch how some of the contestants could harness the constructive criticism received the previous week so that they may get better the following week. It is cool to see their individual progress week over week. Other contestants might take a more defiant approach to the criticism received. Invariably, the defiant approach mostly resulted in a regression for that contestant that would lead to their elimination from the show.

I believe the most important lesson I have learned is when a contestant would come out and sing a nice rendition of a song. The judges would respond that they sang it well but it was not something that they would remember. Generally the supporting reason for saying that they would not remember the performance is tied to a couple of thoughts. The contestants were either playing it safe or picked a song that did not allow them to fully demonstrate their talents. The contestant might have avoided harsh criticism but they weren’t doing enough to win.

I have to admit that I am beginning to feel at peace with my decision to get this secret off my chest today. I feel like a great burden has been lifted. Now I can’t wait to speak to my next prospect. I will not play it safe or short change the abilities of my company and the products we market. I encourage everyone to differentiate yourselves from your competition by being memorable. I say this because I am the ARM Dude ya’ll and I want my company and I to be remembered.