Written by: Stephanie Andrews
When I was growing up, I had an intense desire to do more than those around me. At first, I thought it was being competitive. But as I grew older I realized that it was more than that. Part of my identity is being able to take on more than others, be better and stronger. I like being the person that people look to and say, “I don’t know how she does it.” But here’s the problem with that – I don’t know how I do it either.
The second iteration to the failure diaries is one of the hardest, yet most important, lessons I have ever learned: Evaluate what you are taking on.
Take a step back and look at your life. What do you want? What do you hope to achieve? What do you want people to remember you as? This relates to the 2nd of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits: Keep the end in mind.
At the beginning of the chapter, he tells his readers to imagine their funeral. He asks readers to question what they would like each of the speakers to say. Although important to evaluate these perceptions in the greater sphere of life, it also applies to any project. When you’re taking on a project, you need to look at every angle, every possible outcome. To look at something and expect it will succeed simply because you’re the lead is NOT enough. That is narrow minded, it is cheap, and it will fuck up.
It boils down to the concept of karma - what goes around comes around.
The work you put in will pay off. If you don’t put in the work, there will be no pay off. The only result will be a few migraines, breakdowns, and probably a hefty dose of self-loathing (trust me, I’ve been there). Here’s the good news. If you actually look at what you have on your plate, rather than binge eating until you’re ready to vomit, failures are less likely.
Your capabilities are more in tune with what you are trying to do. You can devote time to your to-do list. With time comes quality and with quality comes pride for your creations. When you can stand and be proud of what you’ve done, it’s the best feeling in the entire world. I literally used to jump up and dance when a client told me that they loved our work (I may or may not still do that).
It all boils down to how bad you want things to work.
If you want to succeed, you need to care and caring takes time. It’s similar to a relationship. You have to work with that person to ensure that they are happy, that quality isn’t diminished, and that trust is strong. Communication is key, strength is a common denominator, but - most important of all - time is king. So, upon reflecting my past failures, here is a quick guide to analyzing your plate.
I call it the adulting scoreboard.
1. Are you happy?
a. Yes = 1 point b. No = 0 points
2. Are you achieving what you hope to? a. Yes = 1 point b. No = 0 points
3. Think about your to do list? Have you been hitting them on time? a. 1 goal on time = 1 point b. 1 goal hit after deadline = 0.5 points c. Goal not hit = 0 points
4. Are you stressed out? Irritable? Distant from others? a. Yes= 0 points b. No = 1 point
5. When was the last time you had leisure time? (Went out with friends, spent the day with yourself, played a sport, etc.) a. Within the last week = 1 point b. Within the last month = 0.5 points c. I don’t remember = 0 points
If your score is less than 3.5, you need to re-evaluate what you have on your plate. Work isn’t everything. When I wrote this, my score was a solid 1.
Don’t worry, if you step back and remind yourself of your values, one day, your score will be a 5. If your score is over 4 - Congrats, you’re killing. Now go out into the world and show the rest of us how you managed to do that.