Small Wins & Gratitude

Be thankful and give yourself small wins. I was inspired by Les Brown when he said, “Be gentle with yourself.”

I know for me in the past I have always been very critical of myself. No matter how well I did something I seemed to look at what went wrong or what I could I have done better.

Although self-analyzation after a performance is good, does it come before or after you pat yourself on the back and say “good job?”

I would guess that you are just like me and tend to beat yourself up mentally if things don’t go perfect. And guess what, they never go perfect. We are not perfect.

Think about the last time you did something such as played a gig, gave a speech at school, gave a presentation at work, or played a game. How did you do? I bet it wasn’t perfect. I bet that no matter how much you rehearsed it didn’t go exactly like it did when you were practicing at home. This is typical of everyone.

Although they say practice makes perfect, it’s not always true. There are too many variables and possibilities of things going wrong when we are doing something in front of a live audience. I will that the more you practice and get your mindset right, you increase the likelihood that you will perform better and deal with variables, but rarely will you be perfect.

The greatest batter in the history of baseball, Ted Williams, had a batting average of 400 during his greatest season. That means he only got a hit 4 out of every 10 times he was up at the plate.

Next question, after your performance was over, how did you handle it? I’m sure you were relieved that is was over but what was the first thing you said to yourself? Did you give yourself credit for working hard and doing your best” or was it “I made a mistake here or I could have done this or that better?” Do you get down on yourself?

For me I use to focus on the negatives, the mistakes or the short comings. But this has been something I have been working hard to overcome and here is a personal story on how I have worked on it.

Every morning when I go out for my jog, I time myself. I like to track my results to see how I’m doing and if I’m improving. I realized that a majority of the time, if I didn’t beat my fastest time ever I would get down on myself about why I was running so slow. I wouldn’t take into account anything positive but just focus on the negative. It wasn’t until one day, I felt really good running but when I finished I didn’t beat my best time. My first reaction was disappointment and I was really hard on myself for not performing better. 15 minutes later when I was writing down my time and comparing it to previous times, I noticed that my time was the 3rd fastest that I ever ran sinceI had been tracking my progress.

I realized how critical I had been being on myself. Here I am out running at 5 am, in the dark, pushing myself when nobody else is around and I’m getting down on myself. It didn’t make sense and I began to ask myself, what’s wrong with this picture? I realized I needed to adjust my mindset and focus on some positive or small wins. From that moment on, no matter what my time is, I’m going to be happy with myself. And not just happy but completely stoked and excited, even if it’s just for getting out and doing it.

This has made me much happier in my life. All I had to do was to simply shift my mindset and interrupt an event in a positive way rather than in a negative way.

Now as you look back at your day you should be able to find at least 3-5 things that you did well and can tell yourself good job. This small win can be anything like you practiced hard today, You focused when you studied, did a great job at work, were a loving and caring parent or just were friendly to people you met. Take some credit for those things and be gentle on yourself.

Here’s something I do that will help you. Everynight when I get into bed, I get out a journal I keep on my bedside table. I have to use the light on my flashlight as my wife is usually asleep but I write down 3 things I did well that day. No matter how bad I may perceive how my day went, I always find 3 things to write.

Next I write 3 things that I am thankful for. These can be anything at all that you have gratitude for, your spouse, kids, parents, health, wealth, energy, opportunities, peace, love, wisdom, humility.

Remember the day is over, no matter what happened I will guarantee that you did at least 3 things well and you have 3 things you are grateful for. This will help you close the day and have powerful positive dreams. Remember that tomorrow is a new day, a day to reset and refocus, but always remember to give yourself small wins.

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Music by Per Kjeller

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