He called up Skype video. They were looking at themselves.
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Grandma said, “Oh, that’s a nice picture.”
Our friend’s son replied, “Grandma, that’s us right now.”
To which Grandma responded, “Oh, I look so old.”
Isn’t that exactly what we do to ourselves?
If we looked at ourselves like a stranger in a picture, we can be complimentary. But as soon as we realize we’re looking at ourselves, we become very critical.
When you look at yourself, what do you see?
This is a particularly important question this time of year as we shift from one year to another. Let’s talk about two mistakes you’ll want to avoid when you look back and two to avoid as you look forward.
Reflection mistakes are common errors when looking back.
Are you like Grandma? When you look back, are you too hard on yourself? It’s a mistake. We call it Hyper-Critic’s Condition.
Filter yourself by pretending you’re evaluating a close friend. You’ll be more likely to see the good with the bad.
Plus, even when you see negatives, you’ll frame them in a positive way.
Some people are the opposite of Grandma. They’re too easy on themselves.
They see themselves as underdogs. So they don’t push themselves hard enough.
You can diagnose yourself to see if you’ve been infected. Ask yourself a question:
Did you accomplish everything you set out to accomplish this year?
If not, why?
Resist the urge to just give yourself a pass. Pretend you’re reviewing a subordinate who has under-performed.
As his or her leader, your job is to discover the reasons for the shortcomings and then help coach them to improve performance. That’s what you’ll do with yourself.
These are common errors people make when looking to the future.
The Slacker Symptom
Your goals – or your New Year’s resolutions – should be attainable. But not easily attainable.
Easily attainable is boring. As humans, we don’t sustain activities that bore us.
We need meaning. And meaning comes from growth, which comes from challenge.
So set goals that push you a little bit beyond where you’ve gone before.
Stretch goals aren’t boring. Stretch goals are challenging. Stretch goals are meaningful.
Superheroes set unrealistic goals. Your goals must excite you.
They must spur you on. But they have to be attainable.
There are two risks from setting your goals too high. You may realize quickly that they aren’t attainable. So you abandon your plan without really giving it a chance.
You may keep telling yourself you can do it. You’re a BIGG goal-getter. BIGG goals are great. But not if you burn out trying to reach them. It only leads to disappointment, despair, and maybe even depression.
You aren’t able to push yourself to the next level. You keep hitting the wall. So you give up. And nothing changes.
Taking some time to reflect on the past year to find the lessons is a healthy exercise. Investing time to plan out the coming year, make some projections, and set some goals is also valuable.
But think like Goldilocks. When looking back, don’t be too hard or too easy on yourself. When planning ahead, set goals that are challenging, but realistic.
We tend to have a bias. Understand yours so you can guard against it and you’ll live happily ever after! That’s BIGG success!
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