Poor performance is ok…really! (this might surprise you)

By March 26, 2013 Mindset No Comments

Ready for poor performance?

Poor Performance as a pre-requisite to performanceYes you heard me right. Ready for poor performance – it’s gonna happen. Now stay with me as there’s method in the madness! Trust me. Not that long ago I wrote about failure and why it’s good – like fertilizer. This time though I’m writing about performance. Specifically, about poor performance and regression, and why as an entrepreneur you must never get disheartened when it happens. I say this because it’s not a case of ‘if’ it will happen, but ‘when.’

Have you ever said, “Why can’t I do this? I’ve done it before and now it’s just not working. I don’t understand!”

And, have you ever heard this saying, “Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to take 2 steps forward? I’m betting you have. We’ve all heard it haven’t we? But, what I’m interested to know is whether you really understand it?

Let me tell you a couple of stories and then you might get more clearly what I’m harping on about….

Story 1

I remember vividly a conversation I had with my bank manager about 20 years ago, just after my eldest son was born. It was about a poorly paid job I’d been offered, that actually had great prospects. She told me to take it and that “sometimes you have to take a step back in order to take 2 steps forward.” So I took the job, and her advice proved sound. Whilst the pay was poor, once I’d mastered the art of selling, I was earning good commission and quadrupling my base salary. That job provided not only with a good grounding in sales, but also a great foundation for running what was to become my 7 figure business.

However, despite this success story, I’d only partially learnt the lesson of ‘taking a step back to take 2 steps forward.’

Cue story 2

I never really understood the lesson until I saw it play out before my eyes, and it was my daughter, and her riding instructor who I have to thank for this.

Now, I’ve been riding since I was 2 years old but my daughter (who’s 11 years) has only been riding for about 4 years. She’s a promising little rider, but what I’ve witnessed is that occasionally, for a very brief spell, she regresses and her performance seriously diminishes. Interestingly, what happens is that, for whatever reason, she loses her confidence and self belief. She thinks she can’t do it, so she doesn’t.

Remember what Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” Boy was he right!

And, it’s due to this that she reverts back to a former state – a state of comfort, otherwise known as her comfort zone – a place where she feels safe.

Now the interesting thing with this story is that it’s actually her subconscious that’s controlling her. Unlike the example I gave in story 1, when I consciously chose to take a poorly paid job because it had great prospects, my daughter is not consciously in control. So it’s her inner being that’s deciding her actions. It’s this part of her that’s enabling her poor performance. Tony Robbins would call it her state.

When you stop to think about this, it’s quite terrifying, but this goes on with all of us – ALL THE TIME!

So what’s to be done?

Well for a start this is the time to pull up your big girl panties and get conscious! Learn to accept that it will happen as it’s part of your development.

[box]”Poor performance is often a pre-requisite for progress” – Jane Frankland TWEET THIS[/box]

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Back in the game? Ok read on…

Check this out for an analogy…

It’s like going home to your mum’s for a cup of tea and a cuddle, when all’s going wrong in your world and you feel like giving up! When you’re there, in that safe space, you get a breather and the support you need. You recharge. You recalibrate. As a result your confidence and energy return. Then you’re back on your feet ready to take on the world – usually with more gusto than before.

I always like to think of it like this. When your performance moves backwards, it’s just like an elastic band being pulled back. It’s moving and it’s ready to ping forward with energy and pace. And that’s why I always say not to worry – THIS IS A GOOD THING as you’re getting ready for a leap and to be propelled further forwards than you were before!

Poor performance and performance management

So remember, for most of the time, you live in a very steady state. You do your things the same way, day after day, and life seems to be peaceful, comfortable and easygoing. However, occasionally you have to do something that you don’t feel too comfortable about. Sometimes you’ll take this in your stride and other times you won’t, and yes you may suffer from poor performance as a result.

When you don’t take things in your stride and go through poor performance, never despair and don’t be hard on yourself for this. This is NOT the time to give up, or the time for self flagellation. Be kind to yourself but keep on going; keep on moving – whether it’s forwards or occasionally backwards. Remember, momentum is good – whichever way it is. Progress requires a backward step every now and again. Poor performance is inevitable if you’re going to learn, advance and develop.

And, repeat after me: “stretching my comfort zone is mandatory if I’m going to achieve it as an entrepreneur.”

Now I want to hear from you

Tell me if you’ve ever moved backwards, if you’ve suffered from poor performance and what the consequences of it were. When you got over it, did you find yourself further forward as a result? Leave me your story in the comments below.

With love and gratitude – as always,



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Jane Frankland is a successful cyber security entrepreneur, consultant and speaker who has had a diverse career encompassing art and design; business development; and operations. Having held directorships and senior executive positions within her own companies and at several large PLCs, she now provides agile, forward thinking organisations with strategic business development solutions. Right now she is writing a book on gender diversity in cyber security and is focused on increasing the numbers of women in the profession.

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