Sticking the landing

Column-IOC-needs-to-rethink-outdated-rules-MT225K1L-x-largeYes, I know its the Winter Olympics coming up, and the only ‘gymnastics’ on offer will be thrown down by Shaun White and any hot chick after the event.. but today ‘sticking the landing’ is on my mind.

I’m not talking about scoring a 10.0, or being perfect, but some days you really need to ‘stick the landing’. Be able to walk away with confidence in your solid performance. Sure, you might have not been perfect, there may have been some foibles or errors along the way, but you finished strong. You left a solid impression.

I am genetically incapable of ‘sticking the landing’.

Guaranteed, 100%, that’s the day, that’s the audience who see me wobble, stumble or just plain land on my head. Maybe I even throw up a little, just to really show them I’m incompetent. No one watching, a day when its not important and doesn’t count? I can be a rockstar. I’ve even punched the air on occasion. Of course its for things that don’t matter and no-one cares about… but as soon as the spotlight is on. Break out the crash pads. Its gonna hurt.

Now I am not one of life’s perfectionists. Minutiae makes me yawn and I ‘pass’ on the finer details of most things. Perfection is for those who need straight edges and tied knots, everything nailed down and in place. I find peace in seeing it, but achieving it… I’ve never had that level of competitiveness or motivation. I’m not a slacker – it has to be good, okay doesn’t pass – but perfection? You can take the other 20%.

Whether its work, my appearance, a new project, signing a lease or even rocking out a WOD, I pretty much know I’m going for 80%. Maybe 85% on a really really good day. But 100%? That’s for the newly promoted VP, the homecoming queen and straight A student. My crossfit trainers.

I’ve never wanted to be, or actually have been a  Tracy Flick.

Because of this 80/20 mindset, I know how much effort I need to put in to get ‘most’ of the way to the finish. In fact, these days I tend to plan for 80% rather than 100% since no matter how much effort I put it, the payoff seems exponentially smaller. I work that 100 hour week and my bonus is smaller than last year. I stick to the 30 day clean eating challenge and wind up the same weight. I spend an hour dressing for the party and still can’t get a date. After a while, you just figure 80% is good enough and skip the shower, eat the cupcake, close the laptop.

So today I was scheduled to meet with a company big wig. For a fairly important discussion. Its been a while since we met and I want to refresh him on my skills and what I bring to the party. You know, make a good impression at the start of the new year.

I’m actually trying so hard for this meeting, I’m almost aiming for 90%. I really need it to go well. I plan in advance, I print out  materials, establish goals and even mentally polish off the conversation in my head. ‘He’ll say this and then I’ll say that’

Alright, alright, alright. I’m looking good, feeling pretty confident.

Do I check that I picked everything off the printer? Do I ensure that I’ve got all of the source info I need to be able to power through questions? Have I kept things simple enough to get an answer, but with enough data to make a decision? Can I actually make it through this meeting without putting my foot in my mouth?




Ummmmmmmm. No.

It was looking so good. I was feeling confident, powering through my agenda, shutting up as appropriate (literally biting my tongue to stop myself from interjecting), and on target to act like a normal sane human being in the meeting. He was amenable, patient, we were working as a team. I even mentally patted myself on the back as I spotted the finish line of the meeting. For the first time in my history with this man, I am going to stick the landing. Its a new year, I’m rested, I’m ahead of the curve, I’ve planned this out, I’ve thought this through. I’m on a roll, I’m exactly where I should be, I’m actually going to leave a meeting feeling confident and proficient, secure in the knowledge that I’ve generated a little trust, some small nodule of goodwill. That he’ll remember why he hired me, and nod at his own initial assessment. In fact, all I needed to do was write down that final note and close the meeting. Which is clearly when my body rejected the notion of sticking the landing..

And without pause.. I criticize my boss, to his boss.

Even as the words came out of my mouth I can’t believe I’m saying them. No one asked me about this topic. No one asked for my opinion. But I couldn’t help myself. It just came out.. all unformed, shapeless, ugly and petty. I outed myself as an asshole. In untrusty asshole at that.  And the comment wasn’t even on my mind. Wasn’t even on my agenda. Was purely a personal notion that I suddenly – apparently- though the big wig needed to know.

I may as well as told him that I’m expecting my period any day now, I’m feeling pretty bloaty and as a result my Hanky Pankies were being eaten by my ass.

In fact, I’d rather have told him that than how it actually went down. It probably would have had less impact.

Every bit of trust, confidence and certainty disappeared from his face as I, finally, realized what I’d actually said.  A thought, a statement made without reason, without purpose, just pure bad intention.

I blathered and in trying to un-blather myself, it got worse. The criticism lingered in the air like a thick fug which I couldn’t dispel, no matter what I said. The more I said, the more disappointment and mistrust I saw in his face.

Not only did I not stick the landing, I may as well have walked to the edge of the mat and thrown up on him.. such was the look on his face.

No, today I didn’t stick the landing. I didn’t even land on the mat. Clearly I can’t be trusted to relax for one moment when my mouth is in motion. Because brain and mouth are clearly not connected, and the moment I relax, actual real unconscious thoughts come out.

Is it purposeful? Do I deliberately self sabotage? Am I just slightly autistic around adults? Or has working at home robbed me of my ability to appropriately interact with adults ? Who knows.. all I know is that its a constant, and it doesn’t lessen the self doubt and pain I feel everytime it happens.

Which is probably why I won’t be getting that bonus again this year. And this year, I will know exactly why.

How can it be January 15th and I’ve already fucked my career for the year?

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