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Success or failure is dysfunctional

I think the statement that business is an intellectual sport is very true. And often we find ourselves setting a very high bar….for ourselves. We work hard. We set ourselves goals, achieve some and fall short on others – all in the pursuit of success.

If you run the risk of being a perfectionist (I suffer from this debilitating condition at times), then you can end up assessing everything as either “success or failure”. But that approach to your own performance is inherently dysfunctional.

Why?  Well, how do you relate in general to failures?

Now, apply this feeling to how you assess yourself when you don’t achieve 100% success. You are perpetually setting yourself up for self-demotivation because when you perform a review, you’ve got the benefit of hindsight. And you ALWAYS find something that could have been done better, don’t you?

This is not about being delusional and telling yourself “well done” when you really haven’t deserved it – you know when you are being authentic to yourself and when you are not. What it is about is applying a framework for motivating and encouraging yourself much like you would a friend or co-worker.

Firstly by having a “success or failure” approach to your own performance, there is a high risk of never truly acknowledging yourself for a job well done.  You’ll also find yourself applying this approach to others, which will quickly enable you to develop a reputation that nothing is ever good enough.

The key therefore is this:  instead of “success or failure”, play the intellectual sport of business always at “personal best”. If you can achieve just 1% improvement each day, although that sounds tiny, then that truly is a fantastic result. Because in 100 days, how much better are you now?