You're at your worst when you're beyond your best
This is for those who question themselves on a daily basis.
I see you. 👋
Let’s get to it…
There are many reasons to seek out a mentor, but generally it will be one of, or a selection of, the following:
Increase your knowledge
Hear constructive feedback
Consider an unbiased opinion
Find new perspectives
There are many more of course.
But focusing on one of the points in that list in particular – constructive feedback – is an idea I’ve been mulling over for some time.
The worst extensions of ourselves are extremes of our best qualities.
Something to ponder for a moment…
Now, let me explain
Your best traits are the reason you’re amazing, why you smash your job and why the people who know you, like you and love you for who you are.
When things start to go wrong, it’s often because you’ve left your sweet spot and you’re now red-lining as your very best traits are now doing their worst to bring you down from inside your own mind.
(Breathe for a moment!)
What does that look like in reality? Let me make it more relatable with a few examples:
High standards and completionism > Overwhelmed and overcommitted
You love getting things done, and you set yourself incredibly high standards within which to complete your projects.
Everyone knows you smash out your workload and are always asking for more, or saying yes when briefed something new.
But what they're not seeing is the habits you might have created for yourself, where you never say no, or work late into the evening.
Probably, because you don't want it to seem like you're letting people down and don't want to disappoint (in your view) them, but almost certainly because you’re afraid of the reaction or opinion if you say no.
It’s far better to manage expectations instead.
Rational and logical > Insensitivity
You see the plan so clearly, often better than anyone else. You’ve laid everything out clearly and pragmatically – having issued out the instructions for who needs to do what and by when.
Most of the time this isn’t a problem, but on the occasions where there’s group friction or you feel there’s a lack of understanding, you double-down and rational thinking and logic turns into unmoving insensitivity in the eyes of others.
In your drive to get the job done, you’ve forgotten something so important you’ve upset the dynamic with your insensitivity: your team are people, not robots.
Organised and diligent > Overthinking and indecision
I consider myself a pretty good planner with an eye for detail, but I can often get wrapped up so much in the thinking that I forget the doing.
I'm rarely indecisive but I can mull over an idea for days or weeks at time, focusing on something less important, or thinking too much how I'm going to start… without actually starting!
(Who doesn't love fine-tuning their slide layout, before any content, until it's just 👌…… but why?! Such a waste of time!)
This is why I need to set myself deadlines, or just tell someone when I'll deliver the task for. It helps me focus.
Those who are always super organised and diligent face this challenge in extremes.
Most of the time your processes and structure are what keep your team ticking along, and working through their tasks.
But on the rare occasion a project presents many options and you get caught up in the different routes to success, you can fall into the trap of trying to find all the answers, without actually making any progress.
The finest of margins!
Humble > Never take credit
Being humble is an incredible personality trait. On occasion, I could definitely learn a thing or two from you…
(I just like shouting about my achievements though!)
But when you consistently downplay your efforts and contributions, or even refuse to accept credit for the positive work you have done, you're slipping.
Your humbleness now manifests itself as low self-esteem and low confidence, where you dismiss the great work you've done as nowhere near as good as someone else, or simply not good at all.
And, if this is you, let me ask you one question… do you like hearing praise? 😬
Curious and open-minded > Disconnected
I've definitely fallen foul of this before.
You're open to new ideas and new trains of thought which, when it works, can inspire your team to test something completely different, or explore a process you've never tried before.
But in the process of developing these ideas, you can completely disconnect from the conversation or task at hand – getting lost in your own thoughts.
Doing so can create the perception that you don't care, when really you've gone far too deep into the weeds, away from where your team are.
Time to resurface!
What can you do about it?
Identifying the moment when you’re about to tip over can really help you at work (and home too of course).
Knowing when you’re in your element but, crucially, when you’re about to tip over into a less productive state of mind.
A big part of this will also be understanding your personality type and your own individual strengths and weaknesses.
Meet me, an ENTP. 😬
More on that in the future…
Add your thoughts in the comments.