When is the last time you tried something new and got it perfect the first time?
If your attempts are anything like my son's recent attempt at sewing a dice bag, then the first try is probably crooked, uneven, and a little bit wonky….
….But none of that matters to him.
He LOVES his finished bag.
He thinks it is AMAZING.
And he is so proud of it.
Watching him, I thought about my own reactions to my first attempts…
For example when I started a new schedule with my kids, and at the end of the day missed half the things I was “supposed” to do.
I didn’t love it, and I didn’t think it was amazing.
I notice all the flaws, and imperfections, and judged myself harshly.
I resented myself for being a little bit wonky.
Here’s the thing about these chains of events:
Who is more likely to try again? Him or I?
Ending my attempt with negativity, judgement, and comparison DECREASES the likelihood that I will try again, because the reward I received after the attempt was a smack-down.
But in his reality, ending the new attempt with a CELEBRATION makes further efforts seem exciting, possible, fun, and inevitable, because it was a positive experience.
The difference is in what he believes about it:
He believes that he did a good job…so he will want to try again.
He believes that he can learn how to improve it next time…so he will think about how.
He believes what he did was valuable…so he will continue to attempt to create value.
Will some of them turn out a little bit wonky?
But that will not stop him, because that is not what he is focused on.
I invite you to spend some time thinking about how you treat yourself when you make attempts…
Do you tear yourself down, or lift yourself up?
Is it: “Well that was awful!…I did it wrong…Why can’t I figure this out…Everyone else seems to be able to do this…It is too hard…etc…”?
You might think you are just conveying the facts, but you’re not. Facts don’t hurt. Judgements and comparisons do.
So tell yourself how amazing your efforts are today, regardless of how wonky they seem to you!
That shift to celebration instead of smack-down will make a huge difference.
No one wins when you tell yourself how terrible your efforts are, but when you instead focus on your strengths, your commitment, your determination, the reason why you are making this attempt, and what you hope to accomplish….you will be more likely to try again.
You might even consider how to help yourself succeed.
You might even think about how to make the next attempt better.
You might even try again sooner than you would otherwise.
Because there are ripple effects to telling yourself a different story.
You only fail when you tell yourself a story that makes you stop trying.
So if you want to succeed, keep trying.
And tell yourself that you are doing enough.
(Because it's true.)
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