I Did It Again!

I can’t tell you how many times I have said those words. Usually I was angry at myself for screwing something up, for failing to follow through, or for falling off a plan that I set for myself. At best, you could call it self-inflicted tough love.

It’s Not Helpful

Fear is a powerful motivator and failure an effective teacher, but I wonder for how long. Do you really want to fill your life with lessons based on, ‘I’ll never do that again’?

What would it look like if you built on your success and were motivated by the idea that you know how to do something or even better, that you know how to figure it out?

Would you rather build your life around avoiding what you’ve failed at or around taking risks based on knowing that you’ve been successful before?

It’s rarely helpful to beat yourself up about not following through on something; a diet, an exercise effort, writing everyday, or starting a business.

It is simply not a statement against your character when you miss a week at the gym.

Building On Your Success

Chances are that you are not really learning from your failures as much as you are spending time being down on yourself for having failed again. Chances are that you are also spending time looking at and identifying old patterns and routines, that you’ve once again fallen into because you’ve convinced yourself that you did it again.

What would happen if you really thought about yourself as successful? What would happen if you started looking for patterns of success?

  • I stayed on my exercise plan for two weeks.
  • I managed to write 10,000 words of the book.
  • I ran a 5k last year.
  • I got the job.
  • I bought the house.

Evidence of your own success is all around you. In any effort to be successful, the elements of your previous successes are perhaps the most valuable assets for doing it again.

It is far more effective to focus on how you were successful for two weeks, than to kick yourself because you missed the mark for the past two days. The former provides an onramp to continue moving forward, the latter will stop you cold.

Here’s an idea for building your personal framework for future success:

  • Identify 2 or 3 successes in the past year or two.
  • Look at what worked for you. What were the actions? (I got up early, I set a timer, I planned my day, I followed steps, I said no to spending, I said yes to doing)
  • What were the patterns? (goal setting, planning, steps identified, cues/reminders, success)
  • Ask yourself how you can replicate the framework, your framework, for your new goal.

Personal Methods, Personal Brand

Those among us who have a tendency to reject systems and methods because they are confining, say things like, “that never works for me”.

Spending time to figure out not just what you have done well, but how you’ve done it, is not only valuable it makes the methods more personal. They become your methods and elements of your personal brand.

Demonstrating first to yourself, how you have been successful in the past becomes your framework for how you can be in the future. And the next time you say “I Did It Again”, maybe it will sound a bit different.

What do you think?

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  • Cathy

    I’m one if those crazy people who adores systems. Without a system I feel lost. Putting success into a system is not only effective (I hope) but very exciting!

  • janeleonard

    I think the problem is that we remember things that went wrong more vividly. We tend to attribute our success to luck or chance. I like the idea of the framework. Will give it a shot.