So on Monday, I walked out of my house (early! I had such big plans), got on my train, sat down, and promptly realized I forgot my badge to get into my office and my wireless mouse. I became super frustrated with myself, almost on reflex. It then became a lesson for me on that train ride in being mindful in my routine. (Real talk, it also made me a bit more paranoid than usual.) It allowed me to make a choice. I could continue to get upset and beat myself up over my forgetfulness, or I could go sit in a cafe, have another cup of coffee, and enjoy the world for another 30-45 minutes while I waited for a more appropriate time to go into the office.
Guess what choice I made. (The coffee was excellent.)
It also got me thinking about the things we choose to spend our energy on. I know a fair number of people who, like myself, hold themselves to a higher standard than they do other people. Why do we put that kind of pressure on ourselves? Are we gaining anything from the constant negativity? And perhaps you don’t see the negativity – and not every expectation we have of ourselves is a negative thing. However, some thoughts can hurt us, and they don’t have to be pronounced.
Think about the last woman (or man, but for the sake of example) you admired on the street. She’s wearing what makes her happy, has a smile on her face, and is strutting her stuff. Maybe she’s wearing a bright, colorful, flowy dress. Or, maybe she’s wearing a killer blouse and trousers. Maybe she has on the best pair of stilettos. Have you ever looked at someone like that and thought, “that [insert clothing item here] looks great on her – she really owns it. It would not look so good on me”?
What about at the office? Say someone asks you a question about a side project that you took on that was above and beyond your normal workload. That normal workload had doubled because of downsizing or other, but you had kept that side project afloat and moving as best you could. That someone – a major stakeholder – comes and asks you a question. You don’t know the answer right away. Your boss has to cover for you. It sounds like a terrible Monday, right? But, what if it were a friend of yours going through it instead of you? I bet you would tell them to simply, “do better next time”. “You couldn’t have known the timing of the question – you are not psychic.” Bet you didn’t tell yourself that.
There’s a quote by Samuel Beckett that I’m currently loving – “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”. Without sounding too woo-woo about it, I think more of us could use permission to do just that. Next time you start to beat yourself up about something, I want you to take a breath. Think about how you want it to impact your day (especially your Monday, which is already hard). Are you going to drown in it? Or are you going to rise to the challenge, acknowledge it, and do better next time?
I hope you fail better. Xx