A few weeks ago, I was out in the woods, listening to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, and the interview was with Hank Azaria. He was talking about something his psychiatrist taught him – the Principle of Validation.
As someone that has historically tended to immediately finish a webinar, or a speaking engagement – or just any regular day – and just focus on all the things that I totally fucked up and then obsess for days about all of those things, I instantly fell in love with this idea.
It’s ridiculously simple.
First: acknowledge yourself for the good things you did. Not just something like “I did that batch reclassify demo really well” but also acknowledge the fact that you even did it, that you’re doing something. You’re out there trying to make things better for people somehow. (And yeah, it’s okay to be making money while you’re doing that.)
Then there’s the Principle of Correction. You take a little bit of time, to go over the stuff you screwed up; you get to review (relive?) them no more than 3 times, then imagine how you’ll do better the next time.
Holy shitballs… this takes practice. Lots of practice.
I tell my coaching clients to start using the things I teach them using baby steps. Start by using the client email format with all your current clients. Use the new engagement letter to renew an existing client. For the next implement the QuickReview™ process. Eventually you have this great system that all works together.
That’s what I decided to do with the Principle of Validation. Baby steps. I started with something simple, and something I know is not one of my strongest points: doing a prospect call back.
The next time I had to do a call with a prospective client, after I hung up, I applauded myself to just doing it – for not procrastinating. Then I went through the things that went well with the call: how I was able to clearly explain how our QuickReview™ process works, why we do it with each customer, taking great notes. Last, I went over the parts that I could improve on: not interrupting, setting more time aside for the call.
Then I let it go. I did the follow up with the client, and I found the next client call was just that much better, because I’d taken the time to do this.
Now, a few weeks into this, I don’t use this process for every little thing in my personal and professional life. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing it at the end of the day, after my kids are in bed, and my day is winding down. I use it after specific events, like webinars or live training events.
It’s to the point now where I almost don’t even realize that I’m doing it. It’s a habit, like brushing my teeth before I go to bed.
Such a simple little thing that helps me recognize that I may have made mistakes – which is absolutely okay – but that I can’t change what has happened, I can only change my behavior in the future.
More important – it helps me recognize that I kicked ass at more stuff than I didn’t.