How do you know you're doing a good job?
A couple of months ago I wrote about playing soccer again. I’d just joined a new team after 10 years away from the game, and had initially found it pretty challenging being in a new team, with a number of new players, and playing against teams that were very experienced and realistically should not have been in the same grade as us. That had lead to some pretty convincing defeats, and I’d had to find ways to stay positive in that kind of environment, something that was a challenge I’m proud to say I rose up to.
Yesterday we played one of the best teams in the grade for the second time. At the beginning of the season we were beaten by this team 15-0, so we were never likely to win, but were hoping for a much better performance against them.
We played well. We stayed positive as a team, encouraging each other and laughing off our mistakes. We scored the first goal, something that really annoyed the other team. We scored two goals from two shots, a 100% strike rate, which was very impressive. We communicated well, telling each other where we were and what options we had. We strung together some good passes, and did a great job at stopping quite a number of potential goals from the other team.
We also lost 11-2. Again, a convincing defeat.
What I notice about this is that if we only used the scoreline as a measure of our performance, we’d be feeling pretty bad right now, and that could negatively impact our performance in future. But that’s not the only way we have to measure our performance. In so many ways we came out on top, and remembering that gives us something we can be really proud of.
There are other areas in life we can learn from this. Making changes to our food and exercise for example. There are times where the scales don’t reflect the effort we’ve been putting in to making changes. There are other ways to keep score though. Being able to walk further, being able to exercise more easily, having a great breakfast each day, knowing you’ve got great snacks in your bag for when you get the afternoon munchies, having more energy, having better skin and feeling proud of yourself for the changes you’ve made are all examples of how we can keep score, and when we can focus on those, the places were the score is not in our favour matter far less.
I encourage you to consider where else this can apply in life. Decluttering the house, improving communication patterns with loved ones, learning new skills and developing existing ones are all places were there are multiple ways of keeping score. Having only one way of keeping score is risky, as when the results aren’t showing in the way you want, it can bring us down, lower motivation, and as a consequence, make negative results in the future far more likely. Having other ways to monitor your results gives us much greater perspective and an ability to notice some of the other effects our actions are having. This helps us stay positive, and as a consequence increases the chances of having more great results in the future.