I had zero plaque scores again at my regular dentist check up. I understand it’s rare to have two in a row – so I have a proud mouth right now!
I’ve also just finished watching Harriet Minters Ted Talk on Yoga. Watch Harriets talk here
Yoga has never been my thing either. I’ve tried, but unlike Harriet I never found a way to like it. On the other hand, I know just how much we need somewhere safe to fail. In my work as a leadership developer, facilitator and coach it’s my constant cry – ‘make your mistakes here – we’re all in it together and we’ll all learn together – so go for it and take a risk.’ Only when we really get in there and risk, do we see how much we learn and how little the failure truly matters. Of course, that’s easy to say.
To the Doubting Twin failure is life threatening
She will be on your back, warning of dire consequences and major kickbacks from those around you. She will have to take defensive action – it’s her job to care for you in the only way she knows how. And let’s be clear – your failure is what she expects. You are both on familiar ground – the DT being critical and you beating yourself up.
The big question is – how many failures will it take before you are willing to succeed?
How long before you stop the DT in her tracks
She needs to hear:
- I know I failed, but I understand why
- I failed and it really doesn’t matter
- This time I actually succeeded – time to notice that!
To get to that place requires reassurance to the DT, coupled with a willingness to say ‘Look at me, I’m good at this’. The DT gives us the perfect reason not to do it – that’s just one reason why we hang onto her for so long.
When we stick with a challenge, the repeating failure can sometimes highlight where successes are lurking. One step at a time and you become pretty good – and from there the only way is up.
Competitive? Not me!
Which brings me back to zero plaque. I’ve never been competitive – or so I tell myself. Just possibly, I’ve never entered the game so I don’t have to lose. I guess that’s probably true since I LOVED being a ‘rare’ one who gets the best score twice in a row. In the little moment of celebration with Gillian (my dentist) and her nurse, I felt great! I’ve failed many times to reach that particular nirvana, but Gillian has kept encouraging and I’ve kept going. Now the longest teeth cleaner in the world and a perfect customer for every brush, mouthwash and floss you can name, I’ve found something I am willing to be really proud of.
Which is a truly sad statement! I’ve built two successful businesses, written three books, had two wonderful kids and a happy marriage for over 30 years and I’m proud of plaque scores! Really?
And I’d bet a small fortune that you could reel off your version of that list. Oh how little we value ourselves! How tough to see what we do well and how easy to see our failures.
Maybe the trick is to fail consciously
Harriet must have watched her own progress week by week – so she knew exactly where she was missing perfection. But then somewhere she started to see how well she was doing. That’s the bit many of us miss. We focus on failure and ignore the fact that persisting is getting us somewhere. Or – and here’s a thought – we secretly know we’re getting somewhere, but we don’t want to say?
So let’s make today the day we celebrate what we’ve achieved. I can be more honest than plaque scores and say that I’ve achieved a huge amount in my life so far – and I’m going to make sure there’s plenty more to come yet.
And you? What have you achieved? And what would it take for you to speak out and be proud of yourself?