Do you find yourself beating yourself up because you haven’t reached a goal yet? I’ve been musing on how easy it is for us to do ourselves down unnecessarily because our viewpoint is out of focus.
I’ve had a busy week going to conferences and I am also trying to develop a daily writing habit. Overall, I’ve had a really good time learning, meeting friends I only see at conferences and talking to new people. I also spoke at the first event. And yet, at various points, I’ve criticized myself for things I haven’t done.
I’ve looked at others putting themselves forward and thought, ‘I should have done that’. I’ve heard stories about other people’s achievements and thought, ‘I’ll never get there’. I haven’t published an article on three days out of seven this week. The first time it was because I didn’t believe in my idea. The next day I wrote it. The second time I couldn’t get an internet connection and the third, I was just incredibly tired. I’m writing this now and not tomorrow morning because I don’t want a three-day streak of not writing.
One of the speakers I heard over the weekend at the Youpreneur Summit was Todd Herman, author of The Alter Ego Effect. He has coached countless pro-athletes and others to bring their best to what he terms ‘the field of play’. We all play many parts in our lives, at home and at work. The version of us who shows up to those roles is different. And when we envision a version of ourselves inspired by the traits (or superpowers) we want to have, we can perform more effectively. Just like Clark Kent turning into Superman, we can become superheroes in our own lives.
Todd said the ultimate battleground you need to win on is the six inches between your ears.
One of the things I did this weekend was feel bad about myself because I had not accomplished as much as someone else.
And then Jenny Flintoft talked to us about not looking at the top of the ladder. If you are looking way up at the top of the ladder, you have a seemingly impossible climb ahead of you. But if you look two or three rungs further up, that’s an achievable distance. There are also people on those rungs who will be able to give you a hand up. They can share advice. They can save you time by telling you what worked for them instead of you trying out a load of things for yourself.
The people a little higher up remember clearly what it was like to be two or three rungs lower on the ladder because they were there not so long ago. They are now looking two or three rungs higher up and they are getting the same benefit from people above them.
It doesn’t matter where you are on the ladder.
It’s easy to forget how far we have come and what we have done. We’re busy moving on to the next thing, we don’t take time to think about what we have just accomplished.
Whether it is completing a project or making that first phone call, we achieve things every day. Our wins don’t have to be work-related. And they can simply be moments in life that we cherish. Taking time out. Doing something we enjoy. Cooking something nice for dinner.
A win doesn’t need to be a big contract or publishing a book. Break down the journey into stages and celebrate every time you get to the next stop. Because the journey isn’t going to end when you hit that goal. You’re going to set another goal. And if you don’t celebrate your wins along the way, you might never reach a point where you feel able to celebrate.
Your brain needs those little dopamine hits. A message that says ‘good job’. Don’t wait for other people to give you that recognition. Write down your wins, remember what you’re thankful for, and give yourself rewards.
Where are you on the ladder? What do you have to do to get to the next rung up?