I won’t be the first person or the last to beat myself up inside for something I’ve done ‘wrong’. Being a perfectionist by nature, when I decide to do something I do it properly, and it gets everything I have to give it. This quality has two sides to it. On the one hand I achieve what I set out to do and I always do it well. On the other hand, however, I find myself not living up to the high expectations I’ve created, and feel as though I’ve made a mistake.
I’m sure you have experienced similar instances in your life. These can be everyday things such as saying the wrong thing to a friend in their time of need, or feeling as though you messed up a homework task because your mind was elsewhere. Perhaps you were too tired to give it your all as you’d had a busy week.
What I’ve found for me and from speaking to others, is that these moments should be used for us to learn more about ourselves and how we can do things better in the future. A technique that works for me is to write down two lists as soon as possible after the event. On the first one, jot down a list of all the positives about the situation. On the second, compile a list of what you can change or do, so that the situation either doesn’t occur again, or you handle it better next time round.
Here’s a recent example from my life where I initially began giving myself a hard time over something I’d done:
Over the last couple of years, I’ve learnt to sing and I’ve been going to open mic nights to improve my public performance skills. I had a number of songs I was quite comfortable performing, even with a musician I didn’t regularly play with. I was really happy with how confident I was becoming performing live.
Then one day I got a bit too cocksure of myself as I’d noticed my vocal range had increased and I could sing ‘Handbags and Gladrags’ in a higher key than I could before. So instead of becoming a little more practiced at it, I decided to ‘go live’ with it at the next open mic night I attended. I fluffed a few parts that I normally would’ve sailed through and began to beat myself up over these because they were schoolboy errors and I knew I was better than this.
Being too tired to put my lists together that night at home, I made them the following morning. In hindsight, I realised I’d actually sung most of it really well, but there were a couple of parts that I could’ve performed better. After reading the lists back to myself, I realised there were plenty of positives to be taken from the experience. This was all part of the learning process towards becoming a better performer. The realisation lifted my mood and I felt ready to continue learning once again.
The quicker you can switch your inner state to that of a positive one, the better day you will have, the better actions you will take, the better decisions you will make, and the more pro-active you will be in achieving whatever you set out to do. Your inner self talk is the driving force that will either keep you rooted where you are or move you forwards to where you want to be.
This sounds ‘cliché’, but it is your choice what you hold on to inside, so always look for the good and hold on to that, as it will benefit you far more than the bad.
If you’re interested to see how my coaching can help you find a better way to maintain a positive mindset, contact me now for a free and friendly chat.