Select Page

I have listened to and read books and articles by self-help gurus who state in one way or another that, “it’s not what happens but how you handle it.” I thought the Will Smith-Chris Rock situation would have died down by now, but it hasn’t. Everyone has an opinion.

With the benefit of hindsight and logic, Chris and Will probably would have done things differently. If Chris had known how Will and Jada would react to the off-the-cuff joke, I am confident he would not have told it. If Will had known how Jada would react, he wouldn’t have laughed at the joke initially. After laughing he must have felt the need to protect his wife. That is a good thing. Everyone should support his or her significant other. That is where that phrase, “it’s not what happens, but how you handle it” comes off the page and into action.

We are going to have to go to instant replay because things happen so fast. Chris is on stage, sees Jada, and makes an impromptu joke. Her facial expressions suggest that she is offended and hurt. He has struck a tender spot. Back story: At one point, Jada indicated that she was embracing the condition that caused her hair loss – that she had made her peace with it. Clearly, that is not the case. Reading her expression Will might have thought she wanted him to do something. What were the options?

First of all, the joke was unscripted. Chris apparently doesn’t know Will and Jada that well, so he should have stuck to the script. Jada could have responded by standing up and taking a bow to show how comfortable she is with the new look. Will could have responded by acknowledging and comforting Jada at their table, or he could have gone up on stage, stood next to Chris, and said, my wife, is beautiful with or without hair.

Under similar circumstances, I don’t know what I would have done. Momentary lapses in judgment happen to all of us. With thought and reflection, I would move into damage control. Yelling from his seat and apologizing to everyone but Chris was not a good look.

Have you ever made a comment in jest, which garnered a much stronger reaction than you expected? Have you ever been offended by something someone said about you? Have you ever become angry when someone purposely or inadvertently offends your significant other? With the benefit of foresight, how would you handle tense situations in the future? You are response-able. Remember: It’s not what happens to you but how you respond.

Feel free to share your thoughts about how you handle tough or awkward situations in the workplaceTo learn more about my coaching practice visit: