When I played softball at UCLA, we used to watch video of ourselves playing to see what we were doing right, what we were doing wrong, and what we could improve on.  I remember one time my coach was telling me that I needed to hold my hands a little lower in my batting stance to be quicker to the ball. So I would go up to bat and think that my hands were in the zone, but still wasn’t getting the results. And my coach would be like, “Marti, you need to get your hands in the zone!”  And I could’ve sworn I was doing it! I was thinking, “I am! I have my hands in the zone.” Then my coach busted out the video… and to my dismay, my hands where nowhere near the zone! You see, what we think we’re doing isn’t always congruent with our reality.  Just like athletes watch video to evaluate performance, we have to evaluate ourselves and the things we’re producing in our lives.

Take a look in the mirror. Let's have a self-evaluation.

Over time I’ve held many leadership roles, and my years of interacting with people have taught me a considerable truth: people seldom see themselves realistically.  We do a fine job at evaluating others but we tend to have a hard time evaluating ourselves on the same standards.  Most people use a completely different set of criteria for judging themselves than they do when judging others.  We judge others according to their actions…just cut-throat, and dry. But we judge ourselves according to our intentions. So even when we do the wrong thing, we let ourselves off of the hook if we believe our intentions are good.  We inflate our own egos to see ourselves more positively, but at the price of putting others down in comparison.

Surprisingly, most of the ugliness we see in others is a reflection of our own nature.

Putting others down and ignoring our own flaws and weaknesses, or believing our problems are someone else’s fault is a surefire way of holding us back from reaching our fullest potential in life.  So try another way…

Accept Yourself (and the Gifts you were blessed with):

Say goodbye to perfect and hello to yourself.  Decide who you are and who you want to be. If you don’t like something about yourself, work to make it better, but at the same time, understand that we are each uniquely gifted. Your gifts are different than mine, and my gifts are different than yours; but there is greatness inside each and every one of us and it is our decision to wake up every day and strive to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.

Have Compassion: Be kind to yourself and others.  Always come from a place of love; when considering someone else’s struggles and restoration, look at your frailty and be understanding towards them.  Recognize a common humanity instead of feeling superior or exempt from certain experiences.  In the words of Abraham Lincoln “Don't criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.”

Be mindful:  Have a balanced awareness in life. You never know what someone may be going through.  Even if others are unkind, never be the reason for someone to stop shining.

The next time you think about putting someone else down to build yourself up, pump the breaks and think about trying a different way, because your judgment of others speaks VOLUMES on where you are in your own journey. And when you really think about it, the only person you should be evaluating is yourself… and you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Blessings and Love,

Marti Reed

Marti Reed