Cut Yourself Some Slack. . . Sometimes

This week I delivered a 3-day management development seminar to a small cadre of men and women in the aerospace indusry.  Truth be told, it was a grind for several reasons.  First, most of my recent work has been half-day workshops, or an occasional full-day program; I haven’t delivered a 3-day program in about 9 years and had forgotten how gruelling they can be.  Also, the mental intensity in preparing the content was quite taxing and found me churning out new material and rehearsing up until the last minute — even staying up late at night during the 3 days, prepping for the next day’s content.  And to top it off, there was an inordinate amount of set up and mechanics involved in this one, all of which I did without any help.

When I was into the afternoon of the 3rd day, I was feeling some definite fatique, and my audience was as well.

The evaluations were above average, but not through the roof.  In other words, they were good, not great.

Normally, I would be pretty unhappy with “good” scores — I prefer to deliver greatness and my evaluation scores generally reflect that I attained my objectives.  But I realize that on occasions such as this, “good” is acceptable. While “great” will remain the goal, and I will get there, I have to recognize that sometimes a “good” performance, under the circumstances, is enough.

Now, let’s hold up a mirror to you: if you have high expectations for yourself, and if you fall short of excellence on occasion, are there obvious circumstances you can attribute your performance to?  If your next 1-mile run is off from your normal solid performance, but you had the flu a day or two earlier, I’d urge you to not beat yourself up too much.  Accept the fact that circumstances were not ideal and you had fewer reserves to draw upon in order to excel.

Not beating yourself up too much is not a sign of complacency in situations such as I’m describing.  Instead, it is a sign of wisdom.  For in giving yourself a break, you prepare your mind to think like a “winner” the next time you get up to bat.

And you’ll probably hit it out of the park the next time you’re up.

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