I have lived with this tendency, one I’ve too often tried to suppress.
I come back to it. It has value.
Not a fertile field. Reworking landscape of a meeting, a project, a process – not to the point of irrationality, but by re-ploughing I mean proactive second-guessing, mulling alternative scenarios – a bit depressing sometimes before it turns uplifting. But in the end, turning over in my mind the way a plough turns earth. Reviewing what I’ve done, or said, or tried.
Easy to take the negative tangent, questioning our judgement – wondering about advice given and services rendered, of how a friend or customer received, reacted, and responded to our take on something.
Self-reflection and review are critical, like driving a muddy road in the rain when wipers simply move the mud around. But that just messes our view. We need to stop, get out of the muck – stand clear, and see clearly, what the reality of objective viewing reveals.
We can’t all be great at everything, but if there is something that matters to us, we need to plough straight rows. And as everyone’s grandfather farmers learned, we have to work the land over and over until we get everything straight and smooth.
I had two great experiences this week, which taught me lots – both flowed from pitching for some business, a pitch that didn’t win. I’m in an industry that rarely rewards the runner up. In this case, the rewards will come, telling the story will be a great ‘case study’ in presentations. An assignment lost, a friendship enhanced/retained, a collaboration ended, and a new client prospect. A few other good things happened this week; bonus yays!
After 6 weeks of my short-cropped beard growing-out into wildly grizzly-Adams proportions, I’m back to clean-shaven. Not so much that I lost weight, but I’m feeling lighter on my feet.
Turning things over in my mind to dissect failed things is good practice because we can self-critique where we might have gone wrong or could have been done better. That is healthy. What is also instructive, something we too seldom do, which is to dissect our successes – because too often, when we win, we didn’t win for the reasons we thought.
In any situation – a personal relationship or conflict, a business competition, or a foot race – preparation matters, execution matters, results matter. Still, in the end, review and critique make us better next time. And the time after that.
P.S. : yesterday brought into stark relief, and proof, something I’ve too often ignored when I shouldn’t have – and sometimes noticed soon enough, and always reminded of these precious words:
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. – Maya Angelou