We have a tendency to swing between extremes.
At one extreme, we beat ourselves up. Call ourselves diminishing names. We are unrelenting and unforgiving toward our own failures.
At the other extreme we let ourselves off the hook. We understand and make allowance for every misstep we make or shortcoming we exhibit along the way.
Either way we let ourselves down. Either way we participate in our own lack of progress or stunted growth. At either extreme we refuse to mature and then, ironically enough, pat ourselves on the back for being so harsh or so lenient.
What we need, though, is the capacity (maybe even courage) to 1.) identify what we’re doing that’s not serving us well, 2.) take responsibility for those actions, and then 3.) experiment with alternatives.
To beat ourselves up is self-diminishing. To let ourselves off the hook is dis-empowering.
To accept responsibility and experiment with alternatives, on the other hand, is both edifying and empowering.
Let’s revisit our three tasks:
- Identify what we’re doing that’s not serving us well.
How self-reflective and/or honest would you consider yourself to be in matters related to your own performance? What outcomes might serve as objective points of self-evaluation?
- Take responsibility for those actions.
Which extreme do you tend toward? Beat yourself up or let yourself off the hook? Both are deflections from a simple statement of factual ownership.
- Experiment with alternatives.
I don’t mean, ask others to do things differently. I mean, you choose to do things differently. You change how you show up and do work. Become a lifelong and active learner.
Don’t participate in your own diminishment another day. Life is challenging enough without stepping into the coffin and closing the lid on ourselves.
On your side,