About Dropping the Ball

I’ve been crazy busy at work lately.  I had some hard deadlines and felt like monkey wrenches were thrown in at every turn to seriously derail my progress.  My biggest fear throughout, however, was dropping the ball on another project.

Today, I found out where it dropped.

I knew it would.  Sometimes it is inevitable, you know?  When I started catching up on the things that had to be set aside while I was putting out fires, I realized a deadline was missed.

My first reaction was honestly to freak out.  I felt a pit in my stomach.  My jaw clenched and my thoughts started racing.

How many times has something gone wrong – either within or out of your control – that set you into a downward spiral?  Even a minor error can easily be the first step to letting your inner critic remind you of ALL the other ways you’ve “messed up” in the recent past…or, best yet, the not so recent past. You know – that time four years ago when  you forgot to cancel a subscription to something and ended up paying full price for it.  Or six years ago, when you didn’t respond in time and got shut out of a conference you were required to attend for work.  Before you know it, a litany of mistakes and personal struggles are brought to the forefront of your mind in living color.  Suddenly, that molehill becomes a mountain.  Fortunately, there’s an inner sherpa in every one of us who knows the way down.

I took a deep breath and started to work through some important questions that can really be applied to many similar situations:

What can I do to fix this?  I couldn’t unmiss the deadline but I could still submit the document and hope it would still be accepted.  Next, I made a plan of how to approach and help those impacted if it’s not.

Is the world going to come to an end?  No.  (Some might act like it will but really? No.)

Will this matter in three months?  Six months?  A year?  No, no, and certainly not (except that I’ll be sure not to miss it a second time.)

I could spend the rest of my day, my week, agonizing over the fact that I made an error.  Or I can move on and deal with the next thing on my list.  Guess which one I’m choosing?

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