Sometimes, you’re just too fat.
There, I said it. And while both people of girth and the politically-correct might get all up in arms about it, the question of what happens when you are too fat is an important one to ask about.
Maybe it’s unfair of me to speak about this, in the same way I’m not allowed to use “The N Word” even though folks with darker skin than I get a pass on the issue (or I’m allowed to make Jewish jokes because I’m a member of the tribe). But political correctness isn’t my bag, and by the way, I’m not really talking about weight.
You already knew that, right?
What Happens When You Are Too Fat
Like so much of what I write here to discuss business change and business process, this piece stems from things that happen in my life. I happen to be doing a bit of traveling lately, and that might well be why the folks at Medium shoved this piece in front of me the other day. Plus, I couldn’t resist the chance to pull this oldy-but-goody from the archives.
The piece at Medium is a lament from a heavy person with a fear of flying based on the many issues that crop up when you are too fat. Like me, unless you have the same problems as that person you’d probably never given any thought to the psychological impact of life when you are too fat, let alone how it impacts others—especially on a plane where space is so challenging, anyway. And I commented there; the story touched me.
And then I started thinking about perspective and the way we communicate every day.
There are so many ways people put out messages and get back … not what they expected. I spend a lot of time thinking about “conversions”, for example, so that should come as no surprise; we help our clients get those, and you can’t achieve conversions until you decide what they are. What was the conversion the author of that piece on what it feels like before, during, and after an airline flight when you’re overweight was shooting for? I’m not sure. What was my goal in responding there, and again here? Traffic, and engagement.
Then, there’s the question of Adjusted Rhetoric. Even if you know exactly what message you’re trying to put out and what the hoped-for conversion event is, the way you say things has an impact and no matter how good your intentions the way it sounds to different people will be … different. This is where things get really interesting; be too careless and you’re going to sound like a jerk to a lot of people; speak too carefully and … you’ll still sound like a jerk to a lot of people.
Your job, then, is to find the correct balance, and that isn’t always easy (and it’s why we’re here).
But it doesn’t need to tie you in knots. Know what you want to say, don’t be afraid to say it, and when you are too fat, embrace it. It comes off real, and people respond to real.
When you are too fat you can pretend to be thin. You can ignore the matter. You can create a fat-is-beautiful scenario. It’s the last one that is most likely to pay off.