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Give Yourself A Break – You’re Not Supposed to Be Perfect

realistic expectations

Last week I had some really, really terrible moments. Our office WIFI went out during a webinar. Not even the phone worked. I missed the deadline to speak at a conference that’s almost in my backyard and an event that I really want to participate in, I double booked myself and had to cancel a few appointments, and I hit my son’s teacher’s car, leaving her side mirror dangling like a Christmas tree ornament.

Some days are going to be terrible. On those terrible days, it’s so easy to feel like we’re screwing things up and that we are indeed a screw up. Instead, give yourself a break. The thing to know and remember, in the moment, is that you’re not terrible. You’re a human being, doing the best you can.

Here is a list of ways to give yourself a break and as a result, do your best work. I’ll admit, I’m working on doing these things too. Every day I’m annoyed that I’m not perfect. I want to be a combination of Mary Poppins, Super Woman, and Kate Middleton, but I’m not. I’m a business owner, working mom, who hasn’t seen the inside of a gym since my son was born, who recommits to better self-care every day, only to break that commitment in eleven different ways by 10:00 am.

Here are Nine Way to Give Yourself a Break:

  1. Set realistic deadlines so you’re not constantly running against time and overestimate how long everything will take to do.  Set yourself up to win.
  2. Before agreeing to a new commitment, ask yourself, “Do I really want to do this?” Try not to commit yourself to things you know, at your core, you don’t want to do. You’ll just resent that commitment when it rolls around and aren’t likely to do your best work.
  3. Turn off the alerts on your phone and laptop when you’re working. You’ll be more focused and get more work done.
  4. Ask for help. If there is someone who can help with a project (and it won’t make you look bad) let them.
  5. Go to bed earlier than you think you need to and leave your phone in the kitchen.
  6. Take a day off. Your company offers vacation time for a reason. People do better work when they take time to relax and rejuvenate.
  7. Take time for yourself, even if it’s 30 minutes.
  8. Drink more water and make sure you eat breakfast and lunch. I’m starting to sound like your mom.
  9. Say “thank you” more and “I’m sorry” less. “Thank you for letting me know” is more empowering than “I’m sorry I missed that.” I’m guilty of apologizing for everything, so much so that one of my employees and I play a game that whoever says she’s sorry first has to throw a dollar in a communal collection pot. Whatever you put attention on will improve.

Some of these things are business focused, some are personal. You bring yourself – your whole self – to work. It’s why you’re good at what you do. People want to work with real people. And real people over commit, make mistakes, and spend too much time on Facebook at 11:30 pm. Give yourself a break.
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About 

Shari Harley is the founder and President of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training firm that is bringing candor back to the workplace, making it easier to give feedback at work. Shari is the author of the business communication book How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships that Really Work. She is a keynote speaker at conferences and does training throughout the U.S. Learn more about Shari Harley and Candid Culture’s training programs at www.candidculture.com.

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3 Responses to “Give Yourself A Break – You’re Not Supposed to Be Perfect”

  1. Karen says:

    As someone dear to me once said ” some days you get chicken and other days you get feathers”.

    As someone else told me who I respect ” live every day as if it was your last and one day you’ll be right”– Irish proverb

  2. Love this one, Shari, it really spoke to me today. Thank you for sharing your own vulnerability and struggles, we’re all in this together. Have a great day today.

  3. Deanne Moore says:

    Right. On. Time. Thank you so much for this info.

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