How Can We Make Life Less To Do About Performance?

Photo Credit: Time to Prove Yourself Stopwatch Timer Words Performance © Iqoncept | Dreamstime.com

Photo Credit: Time to Prove Yourself Stopwatch Timer Words Performance © Iqoncept | Dreamstime.com

How can we make life less to do about performance and more about fulfillment?

What? Isn’t it all about landing the next project? Getting the next client? Writing the next blog post? Making more money? Hosting the next fabulous dinner party?

Help! Unplug me.

Recently the pastor in the church I often attend was talking about how our lives are all about performance here on earth.  Then, there was the sad untimely passing of Robin Williams, indisputably a comic genius. Maybe it’s the point on the path in life that I’m on that makes certain words (messages) and sad events (dying) more relevant.

If we believe our lives don’t begin and end on earth then even the statement credited to Dr. Wayne Dyer supports both things like my pastor’s message and peoples deaths:

“I am a human being, not a human doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do.”

Yet many of us continue to act this way, the doing way, me included. It’s not necessarily a more introvert or extrovert thing other than as an introvert myself, this is my view of the story.

Go with your strengths

Some of us often downplay our strengths. Maybe it’s because being in the kind of world of many macho man and wonder woman we’re a little tired of it. Many of us are strutting around, “Look at me…” “I’m number one…”

What I love about being more introverted is our strengths tend to come from our quieter side.

Still regardless of our preference, sometimes we can take our strengths to an extreme. Heck I even blog about building from or boosting ourselves from our strengths so we don’t zap our energy.

It seems there is a curse and a blessing to often being unaware of your strengths.  The curse is, we have a weaker foundation in almost anything we undertake in that we are somewhat clueless.

For example, if we are more introverted and don’t recognize the power in being quieter we might struggle to get our voice heard the way the more extroverted do.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yet, if we are more extroverted and don’t seem to understand our nature of being energized from outside ourselves, our need to connect more with others can be misread by others as just trying to be an attention grabber.

In the 1987 movie Moonstruck, after two slaps in the face without words, Cher says to Nicholas Cage, “Snap out of it!”

Give up overgeneralization

In one of my early years as a corporate trainer, with one of my first public speaking paid engagements, I wanted to gain the meeting planners approval so much. Actually, this was the situation more than most times. Operative word – was.

We met once, twice, three times. She asked for an outline I toiled over: my ideas, supported by research, leading to her messages.

I over prepared. Not memorized but practiced about twice as much as normal. With all of this, when it was time to appear on the platform, my passion about the topic was heightened.

At the end of the presentation there was applause. Hooray. A few of the participants came up to me after the program and either thanked me for the inspiration or complimented something they heard.

About a week later I was getting ready to talk with the meeting planner about giving me a testimonial. Surprise! There was a letter in the mail from her and boy was I excited about it as I opened it.

What a let down. It felt like I was a failure. “You missed the mark and did not deliver the message we discussed.” The letter wasn’t nasty, it did thank me but the message I’ve included here is all I can recall. It was horrible.

Photo credit: Bad Performance Review, © Andrewgenn | Dreamstime.com

Photo credit: Bad Performance Review, © Andrewgenn | Dreamstime.com

A mistake is just that – a mistake. We can destroy our beingness if we make a general conclusion based on one, two or even more experiences. These don’t mean your entire career or life is a mistake. As Robin Williams #RIP said, ““What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong.”

Many of us who have to always be doing might lose a true sense of self. Not to mention the possible physical burnout and mental overwhelm.

We’re all human beings who might be able to know we have it all if we can do less and be more. We can find more strength in our life and peace in our being  if we realize there is nothing to prove from performance to anyone, including ourselves.

Which do you value more, doing or being? (Hint: look at your calendar.)

 

Why would you want to shift to more being? Is there anything you would want to do differently to get there?

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Comments

  1. A book that is an “oldie but a goodie” is “Beyond Success and Failure.” I harken back often to it’s core message, that we are well served to stop measuring our worth according to external yardsticks. Still, it’s very hard for me to stop being a “Human Doing.” I also find myself still eager to do things for the sake of praise and approval. Letting go of these wants is so hard.

  2. I hate when that happens…when you think you’ve aced it! Hit the nail on the head. Even gotten congratulations. You’re on top of the world. Only to find out later that you missed the mark or had not lived up to expectations. It’s really hard not to feel like a failure or really take those negative comments to heart. In the corporate world I think it really is a focus on Human Doing. I value Human Being more and would like to think that now that I have shifted and stepped out of the corporate world my focus is much more on Being instead of Doing. At least that is my goal :)
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Scottish Shortbread Recipe: #RecipeMy Profile

  3. Isn’t life both about performing and fullfillment? But we definitely have to go with our strengths.

    It’s also an aspect of life that sometimes when we believe we have really succeeded with something it turns out we were to quick to celebrate. It’s as if fate steps in and says “hang on a minute”. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, comes to mind.
    Catarina recently posted…Be yourself – instead of – parrotingMy Profile

    • Indeed Catarina it IS about both. The thing is, we’re much more focused on the DOING. This is what gets the limelight. Have you ever had anyone compliment you saying, “what great being you are today?” versus something like, “that was a terrific blog post you wrote today?”

      My main point in the meeting planner’s disappointment was not to overgeneralize any failure. There was enough evidence in the example that, MANY people who heard the program benefited. Just because one person did not, does not make things a failure.
      Patricia Weber recently posted…Bad drama and good stories for introverts to navigateMy Profile

  4. This post and comments reminded me of a great book that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, Mindset by Carol Dweck. Before I read it I clearly had a “fixed mindset” and any criticism of my performance was devastating which in turn kept me from trying new things. After reading the book I’ve been able to adopt more of a “growth mindset” and focus on the fact that when I don’t perform well I need to take that as feedback and find out what I need to work on, not as a commentary on me as a person.
    George recently posted…Nonfiction Books Reading List July 2014 – The Books I Read to Get AheadMy Profile

  5. The expression you are your own worst enemy comes to mind. After being through so much in my life, my approach is different and I no longer beat myself up. I accept things as is and move on.
    Arleen recently posted…How the Ice Bucket Challenge Increases Awareness for ALSMy Profile

  6. Pat — I know how crushing it is when you’ve failed to perform to someone else’s expectations. But we have too many expectations of ourselves. We’re not perfect human beings. I love the quote “I’m a human being, not a human doing.” We’ve got to learn to love ourselves for who we are. Sure, we’re imperfect, but we’ve got to enjoy being in our own skin and learn to smell the roses.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Why Don’t People Show More Gratitude?My Profile

  7. For me sometimes the being and the doing are the same thing. You do make some very valid points here though. Most people lose sight of these. I left the corporate world so I could do more being rather than doing. I have never regretted it.
    Cheryl Therrien recently posted…Miracle Marathon: What Is It & Why Should I Care?My Profile

  8. I try very hard to focus more on “being” because I know I tend to concentrate to much on “doing” in order to deal with anxiety. It might sound corny, but I listened to Dan Harris’s audiobook for 10% Happier Twice, and am gearing up to give meditation a try. It’s like when I go on a long hike, I forget about doing because I am busy being in the moment.
    Jeri recently posted…#PubTip: Publishing Fact and Fiction (PNWA 2014)My Profile

  9. Not much sounds corny to me these days Jeri. I don’t know of this book, and while I sure don’t need the doing of listening or reading another book, I’ll have to check this one out!
    Patricia Weber recently posted…How Can We Make Life Less To Do About Performance?My Profile

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