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I was told there would be tea - A self-awareness lesson


I am not going to lie. I stayed up New Year’s Eve EXCLUSIVELY to see if Mariah Carey would have another disastrous performance on New Year’s Eve. I mean, last year was amazing with her appearance being a total train wreck, and this year it would be colder and the stakes would be higher. No better drama on NYE.

Turns out that Mariah had a pretty good performance. She sang live, was not off pitch and delivered a pretty stellar show. But the gem of the night was when in between songs she asked if there was tea. Here is how it went…

She said: "They told me there would be tea.” – there was no tea.

"Oh, it's a disaster. Okay, well, we'll just have to rough it. I'm going to be like everybody else, with no hot tea."

SOOO GOOD!! Pure Mariah gold! It was reminiscent of last year when due to technical difficulties she was left to prance on stage looking confused and not singing in key. When it happened, all that Mariah could do is say that she was trying to be a good sport and brought light to how much of a disaster the night was… Accountability at its best.

So, what can we learn from this boys and girls? Being self-aware might be one of the greatest skills you can have in business today. Being self-aware means that you have the ability to look at yourself and understand why the things you do and say may have an impact on someone else. It’s realizing what you are doing and why you are doing it. Having this skill allows you to better react to feedback and helps in self-development. It allows for growth and understanding. Mariah just showed us what it is like to be completely unaware!

I understand that Mariah was requested to do a job and in order to do it well she needs things to occur in a certain way. I can even understand the need for hot tea on a chilling NYE night that felt like it was negative 10 degrees, especially when you are asked to use your vocal chords. My rub is not with the asking about the tea, but the statement about it.

First, saying out loud in front of the entire world that she was told there would be tea already prompts the audience to become defensive. Positioning is everything. Then, comparing not having tea to a disaster made it a little more awkward, especially when there have been a ton of legitimate disasters all year, even in the past week. Then the cherry on top of the sundae was her saying she would have to rough it like everyone else and not have any tea. COME ON MARIAH!!! She said that while wearing millions of dollars in jewelry and clothing and after coming on stage from her warm, posh dressing room. There were people that stood in the cold since 8:00 IN THE MORNING, to be part of the festivities. With no bathroom. No tea! Some people wore diapers. DIAPERS!!! Even then, I could argue that these people were not really roughing it compared to how some other people in the world were spending New Year’s Eve…

Was Mariah wrong for thinking those things? Of course not. She is entitled to her feelings, misguided as they may be. In fact, those comments might have even been a poor attempt at humor, and trying to connect with the crowd. What causes trouble is the lack of awareness as to how these statements will be interpreted by the audience, by the media and by the general public. Furthermore, she displayed her continued lack of self-awareness by doubling down on her statements and posting a post-performance picture of her having tea!

So here is your lesson: Don’t be daft like Mariah. Know what your situation is compared to your audience before making statements. Consider how the statements will be received prior to making them. Finally, deliver the message thinking about your recipients and not about yourself. Be self-aware. That will ensure that you are not missing the mark with your people.

Thanks for listening. Now where is my tea??

Andre Mello is a coach and loves a good NYE story. He has been in leadership and coaching for over 10 years. If you would like to connect with Andre please visit www.wysecoaching.com.

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