I always want to do everything to the best of my abilities. This is a great mindset to have and I am very proud of it. It helps me push my limit, constantly seek constructive feedback, reflect and learn continuously. It also helps me to deliver high-quality work and be a responsible professional.
However, I recently noticed something not very positive associated with this mindset. It sometimes prevents me from not doing anything at all. Especially if that To-Do task/ thing is outside my comfort zone and by missing the timeline will have repercussions on the personal aspects of my life and sometimes my aspirations.
For a long time, I thought it is procrastination that prevents me and if I am disciplined and try to push myself enough I will get over it. I watched videos on how to overcome procrastination and read a couple of books about it too. But no matter how many plans I made the result was the same. I met all my professional timelines and commitments, but some significantly important personal goals and things to do got missed out.
And then yesterday, I received my progress report from our amazing Zach. Staying true to my pattern, and being swarmed with urgent timelines at my host organization, I finally opened the report today and felt so ashamed of myself. It is my sixth month in the fellowship and I have not written a single blog post. This also reminded me of my pattern once again and got me thinking, why?
I think I may have found a plausible answer by applying Double Loop Learning Theory. This theory was developed by Chris Argyris, a leading organizational trainer, in the mid-1980s, and got developed over the next decade into an effective tool. Argyris bases his theory on the premise that each of us has a cognitive map inside our heads – in other words, a mental script to deal with problems and challenges based on previous experience. However, we are mostly in a problem-solving mode where we look at our action and result. And if the result is not satisfactory we go back to the action level and try something new. But as per this theory, often there are certain mindsets/ beliefs that inform our actions. A drastically different result could be achieved if we look at the mindsets.
I looked at my pattern to explore what mental model/belief is at play in my case of not writing blogs. It is not a lack of inspiration – In my first week itself I wrote down three blog post topics. It is also not a lack of time – I am doing a lot of stuff outside my professional commitments, find time to be with my friends and explore new things.
Applying the double value loop gave an insight – Is it that I am waiting to write the best first blog? Yes. It is. I made several attempts but never made it beyond the first paragraph.
So today, I dropped everything and started writing this blog, not hoping or waiting it to be my first best blog. I am finding joy in the fact that it is my first blog ever and I finally wrote it. This blog post will also be a reminder – “I will not let best be enemy of just good or in this case just a beginning!”
Interested in how Doble loop can help in organizational changes and development- Read this case study by Harvard Business Review
P.S: Staying true to my new found insight – “Don’t let best be enemy of just good.” We tried hard but could not resize picture satisfactorily. For now I am happy with visible part of this selfie with Zach and Shea. I hope by my next blog post I will be skilled at resizing pictures.