Thursday, September 13, 2012

Letting yourself down

Most of us have seen people on reality TV shows crack under pressure at critical moments.  They’ve worked hard and waited a long time to get this far.  Their dreams are at hand.  But American Idol contestants forget lyrics.  America’s Next Top Model aspirants can’t seem to take direction during photo shoots. 

Sometimes we just don’t do our best.  We may have carefully and thoroughly prepared.  We think we’re ready to ace the interview/audition/presentation, but we let ourselves down.  So how do we judge our performances?

Be kind--tell yourself and believe things like, “Everyone has an off day now and again.  I’ll do better next time.”  Then let it go. 
On the other hand, if we let ourselves off too easily, we may not grow and improve.  For example, there are those on AI who are so convinced they're fabulous singers they don't hear the judges' honest critiques or think they could benefit from advice.

Be analytical--review in detail what went wrong.  See what we can learn and put to good use in the future.  Sometimes we want it so much and/or worry so much about what we’re doing that we stay in our heads instead of being in the moment and trusting ourselves. 
Maybe we can recover, regroup after an initial stumble.  Or maybe we get even more in our heads, flounder and go downhill fast.  Consider studying and implement techniques to reduce and deal with nerves.        

Be practical--Consider accepting feeling frustrated and/or disappointed.  But know that in many situations, it’s not how we think we did, but how our audience perceives our efforts.  Maybe our standards are too high and we're being too hard on ourselves.  Perhaps we don’t think we did a great job, but the client is satisfied.  Solicit opinions from trusted colleagues and friends trust to see if theirs mesh with yours.  Accept constructive criticisim, support and find the motivation to move on.

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