Shake It Off
I try to hold myself to high standards when it comes to work. While I don’t think that I am defined by what I do, I certainly believe that my output is an important reflection of who I am — this is my motivation for being intentional about how I show up at work.
For this reason, it can be a bit of a struggle for me when I mess up. And I do. More often than I care to admit.
As anyone humble and honest enough will tell you, work long enough and you are guaranteed to have a bad day at the office.
And if you care about what you do, you will struggle to some degree to accept, process, and leave those moments behind. This also varies from person to person on the spectrum of conscientiousness.
I am not particularly referring to catastrophic cock ups that cost lives and property, even though these too should not be allowed to define you. No. Instead, I am talking about those “small to medium” scale errors — the bad meetings, the erroneous data, the botched presentations. These types, you typically live to fight another day, but they are still hard to deal with.
When these happen (not if), you need to learn to be kind to yourself. You need to keep your positive narrative handy, to remind yourself that you are fallible, and that you will get other opportunities to do better. Depending on how sensitive you are to such events, you may need to refer to your “Wins” portfolio, to (re)validate to yourself that you do have it in you and that you will be just fine.
None of us are perfect, and this is not a cliché. It is merely a fact of life. But in the hyper-productive work environment of 2023, picking up and dusting yourself off is almost becoming a superpower. The endless need to keep up with the Joneses makes us so brittle and only ends up eroding our staying power.
Finally, no matter how much you may be crushing it now, you will one day look back and realize how little you know and maybe cringe a little at your the relatively amateurish level of your current output. This is a real sign of growth. So, try not to take it too seriously. You will someday laugh (hopefully) at some of your grand attempts.