Give Yourself Grace

Dr Ivan Joseph
January 23, 2021

I am often my own worst critic.

Even when tasks are executed with great precision and the outcome is excellent, I find myself thinking about the errors, however small they might be, that I missed. I perseverate on what I could have and should have done better in the process.

This ‘never happy with the outcome’ perspective is a double-edged sword. Churning over the process in order to improve the original idea can be a blessing for the organization; but, too often dwelling on the small errors overshadows one’s ability to appreciate progress and celebrate wins.

My advice?
Give yourself grace.

Let go of having to be perfect. Get away from the critics and naysayers who are only there to pull you down. There will be time enough for the post-mortem on the project. When you have success, stay in the moment. Basking in the praise or enjoying the spoils will charge you up for the next round of work.

Challenging the status quo is exhausting work.

Others’ defensive reactions to your pushing and pulling towards innovation can leave scars. Even exponential progress in key areas of focus can feel hollow once the dust settles if we haven’t allowed others to praise us. Stop interrupting them to point out your missteps. Bite your tongue. Say, “Thank you.”

It’s gracious to push and pull others who helped on the successful project into the spotlight, but stand up with them. Resist the urge to hide. Be in the picture or on the podium. You worked hard. You took chances. You persevered. Shine. Open yourself to accolades. Let the warmth heal you for the next battle.

Then, when you do sit down to reflect, make an effort to write down what you want to try differently rather than the error itself. If there is to be a list to go down in the history bank of your psyche, let it be the one of opportunities for even better outcomes down the road.

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