Many moons ago I was training as a Coach/Facilitator with Ferdi, the best coach I had the privilege of working with. He had me work a room of 100 plus people for an hour. At the end of the evening as we relaxed with a cup of tea, he asked me how it had been? What had worked, what hadn’t, what was good and not so good, what had I learned?
I gave him a reasonably lengthy answer, to which he replied, “Do you know you have told me only things you did wrong.” “Now tell me all the good things, you did, what worked, where did you provide real value, what had people free to participate?”
I have never forgotten Ferdi or the work we did that night. This was the first time it was distinctly apparent, how “Perfectionist Bruce” only saw the negatives in what he did, never the positives, nor the good things others think or say about me. I was a highly able and effective person, yet I diminished my personal effectiveness by being very self-critical.
I was reminded of this today when I read an article in the DominionPost by Bevan Eyles – “Look to Others to Show You Are Special”. Bevan was trying to motivate clients working out in his Spin Class to produce a higher level of performance. He asked the class to think of things others admired about them. Why are other people’s lives better because you are in it? When people talk about you, what are the great things they share with others? The body language suddenly became very positive. The enthusiasm, energy and output of the Spin Class lifted markedly.
The key message was that allowing ourselves to see the good within, provides inspiration and motivation. Which in turn can take us to a much higher level of personal effectiveness. Energised, highly productive, open and free.
I’ve been advising my clients to list out the positive things about themselves so they can see how great they really are. To regularly add new items to it. And to keep the list present everyday.
What if we adopted this as a practice? Something we do as a matter of course within our day. Bringing realism to our self-assessment. Still seeing things that we can improve, and areas for development, but equally seeing the positive things we do, the contributions we make to others, and the good things others say about us. What if we viewed ourselves as our good friends, or colleagues do? We would have the ability to empower ourselves whenever and wherever we want.