Using priority setting to maximize the positive and minimize the negative impacts of failure

So how do you feel about failing?  You have a plan, and you don’t meet your desired result, you’ve experienced a lack of success, you fell short.  The kind of failure that’s not spectacular like having a building topple over or having a dot com blow up in your face.  It could be a little thing like not doing the things on your list for the day.  That’s a fail.  Or missing or arriving late for a meeting or appointment.  Again, that’s a fail.  (If that’s how you choose to see it, more on that later.)

There are a lot of little failures that we allow or try to justify due to some form of outside influence.  So we say, “it’s not my fault,” then we throw in a because and we create a “compound fail.”

Compound Fail – (my definition,) First, you failed in achieving something, and then you fail to take responsibility.

E.g., “I’m late because the traffic was a nightmare.”  (often includes exaggeration)

Compound-Complex Fail – (my definition,) First, you did not do it, arrive on time, etc. second you blamed it on outside forces, and finally, you try to make yourself the victim of circumstance and justify your behavior.

E.g., “I was late because the waiter was slow and I had to wait to pay my bill.”

So you’re saying it’s the waiter’s fault, if only he had been quicker I would have been on time.  In reality, if we cut away the B.S., the fact is you did not plan for every eventuality because you don’t value their time enough to make sure you are prompt. Ouch! That stung.  Even if you are screaming, “wait that’s not me,” I ask you to stop and think, is this how others are seeing you?

Baffle factor – (again my definition,)The more complex and inventive the excuse, the more you are trying to influence the belief of the individual, and ourselves, that the situation/result, was truly out of our control.

“Spreading fertilizer,” like this will encourage growth in plants but only grows disbelief and distrust in others.  How can they take you, or your promises seriously after something like this?  Especially if you are a repeat offender.

If you’ve ever been about to explain something, and you’ve heard someone say, partially under their breath, “here we go,” or, “this will be a good one,” or even, “hang on,” you have to understand that you’ve lost all credibility and trust with them.

So what can you do to keep yourself from becoming this cartoon character?  Well, first you have to realize that it’s going to take time to rebuild trust and credibility,  but more importantly, it’s never too late.  It’s something you can lose in a minute and then have to spend months or years trying to rebuild.  Depending, of course, on the frequency and nature of the occurrence(s). Second, don’t make a grand announcement, “I’ve seen the light, I’ve had an epiphany, or I’ve changed.” Unless you like watching eyeballs roll to the ceiling and hear a chorus of, “here we go again.”

You can’t expect or demand trust; trust has to be earned, bit by bit, inch by inch, brick by brick until you have built a solid foundation for their trust to stand on.

So let’s look at fixing the problem.  One of the most succinct expressions of how you need to look at events is from Jack Canfield, “E+R=O.”  The Event, something happened, you may have caused it, or something occurred outside of your control  + Reaction, how you dealt with it/took responsibility/blamed the universe, etc. = Outcome, the result of your reaction.  Once you learn to take responsibility for how you react or deal with a situation, this includes preplanning on ways to avoid negative events.  Eg. Being late for a meeting, or not meeting a deadline.

I have read and found similar explanations in the writings of Napoleon Hill, Epictetus, and Lao-tzu to name a few that show the timelessness and universality of this expression.  No matter how you put it accepting responsibility for how you react to situations leads to a better understanding of your feelings and approach to life in general.

So what else can we do to start on our new track of being a responsible adult?  No more working on a project up to the deadline, trying to cram a weeks work into a few hours the day before.  Set a deadline of your own, before the due date, allow yourself the chance to refine or adjust incorporating any last-minute data if needed. Much better than creating the entire report.  Very few are unhappy with you if you manage to beat the deadline.

Stop saying yes to everything.  Are your activities outside your work life draining or stealing your work energy, time or focus?  Yes somebody has to do it, but it doesn’t always have to be you. Sit down, list your commitments, no all of them and yes being there for your family is a commitment.  Now take a close look at all the things that are drawing on your energy, and you wonder why you want to sit down at night and escape into T.V. or whatever your diversion may be.

What are you doing that serves other peoples agendas by letting them remove items from their to-do list at the expense of your goals and dreams?  Delegation is a prerogative of your employer, it is not, except if you allow it of your coworkers, volunteer group, sports team, or any other organization you may have joined.  Remember it is your choice don’t allow others to guilt you into something that will free up their time by robbing you of yours.  Volunteering and service is a wonderful thing which can bring you great joy and personal satisfaction when it’s your choice and great frustration when it’s not.

Time vampires are everywhere, and you have to be on guard constantly.  As well as using you and your time for their gain they don’t tend to share the accolades of the success, or if they do they diminish your contribution.  So there you are watching their party from your desk as you struggle to finish your assignment before your deadline.

I hope with this brief article you can kickstart positive change, this can be a difficult journey – but it is one where I can guide you in. Book a complimentary 30 minute discovery session to unravel areas that may be holding you back.

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