The difference a day makes


I wrote this blog post yesterday, on the last day of 2018.

It’s a tradition of mine. Capturing what’s happened in the past twelve months, looking for opportunities to celebrate discoveries, people, and learning.

The post finishes off with a check against last year’s objectives (note, they’re objectives not resolutions), plus a list of ten objectives for 2019.

Pesky Internal Dialogue

Here’s the thing.

I recall in the moment of writing that blog post (it took in the region of three hours) that the internal dialogue was leading me to view whatever was emerging from my tippety-tapping at the keyboard as, well, a load of old shit.

I recall finishing New Year’s Eve staring at the fireworks on the TV wondering why on earth I had spent three hours even bothering.

It’s true. Coaches aren’t perfect. They have the same internal dialogue going on as anyone else.

one day later …

Twenty-four hours later I’ve read the same blog post back and end up concluding something entirely different.

Aside from one or two minor typos (which in my world are acceptable and forgivable), I find the copy perfectly OK.

Yesterday’s negative assessment bears no relation to what I think today.

What’s important?

I recognise that I have high expectations of myself. I want to be able to write copy that conveys my thinking authentically, but to do so quickly. That requires being able to access the voice and translate accordingly. I don’t have the patience to pore over copy (for a blog post) day after day in a series of ruthless edits, in pursuit of perfection. I want to be able to just magic it up.

And that’s fine. If bashing something out in a hurry and then spitting it out is what is important then that’s perfectly fine. But, I also recognise that doing so may not afford me the opportunity to form a connection with the copy I’ve written. That connection might help me feel more satisfied that it is of a suitable standard and in the process make me less susceptible to negative internal dialogue.

Creating that connection with the copy can, really and truly, only effectively happen if I step away from it. The connection is made when I return a few hours later and re-read. In the case of my 2018 review, doing so resulted in a completely different outlook on what I’d written.

Move away from the task whenever and as often as you can

Which gets me thinking a little more. What more could we achieve if we factored in a little time to step away from what we were actively engaged in so that we could return to it afresh?

It’s not a revelatory insight necessarily. The journalists I worked with in the BBC’s training and development division were always banging on about the need to do just that. Some even went a stage further and quietly read their copy out loud as though they were speaking it into a microphone. Doesn’t seem quite so mad a notion now.

In our on-demand world allowing time to bring distance on our work is increasingly difficult – because everyone wants everything NOW. But, we have a personal responsibility to ring-fence that time if we are to operate at our best.