Today I am thankful for brutally honest self reflection.
Yesterday I had a presentation in Medford that didn’t go nearly as well as I’d hoped. I didn’t have the normal high energy that I bring to events like this. I got off script and had a tough time recovering. I’d made changes to the presentation and didn’t practice the new changes enough to make them smooth. Instead of moving around and using hand gestures I stood in one place most of the time and didn’t move around. I forgot some of the stories that are key to the presentation. Overall I’d give myself a C- for the event. I was pretty disappointed in myself.
My team was polite and tried to cheer me up and tell me that it wasn’t bad, and that I did fine, but I know I let them down. I was told I was being too hard on myself, but I know my potential and I totally didn’t live up to it.
Afterwards I took some time to walk through what went well, what didn’t go well, and what i was going to change for our presentation this morning. My goal was to make enough changes to make this the best version of this presentation that I’ve done to date. It was pretty brutal looking at all of the flaws, but by doing that self reflection I was able to figure out what went wrong and what to change for this next time.
Today’s presentation went extremely well! It was definitely one of the best I’ve done in quite some time. The pieces that I wanted to differently all went very well. My energy was up, my confidence was high, and my overall performance was pretty solid. It felt great to go from a C- to an A-.
After today’s I’ve gone back to the drawing board to improve it again. I need to tighten up some stories, improve some slides, and work on the flow between a couple of slides. Eventually I’ll get it up to an A+ performance.
There are two reasons I’m thankful for brutally honest self reflection. It kept me from blaming external reasons for my poor performance. It also helped me see how much better my performance could be. While it’s tough to stare down our faults we can usually see some pretty cool opportunities if we can face them.