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  • Writer's pictureDr. Pamela Davis

I Didn't Wake Up Like This


Maybe you're saying, "...your make-up looks so good."

Well, unlike the words of Beyonce's song, "Flawless", I didn't wake up like this! Yeah, I know, you might be thinking she/he makes "it" look so easy. I'm not just talking about make-up or physical appearances.

As leaders and experts, we don't always disclose the behind the scenes work that goes into the finished product. For instance, the principal who runs a 9th-12th grade high school with an enrollment of 2100 students. From a distance, it looks so easy - every adult has a duty station; the students transition smoothly between classes; and when class is in session, there are no students in the hallway. What you didn't see was the number of times it took all the key players to get it right. Another example is a trainer facilitating an engaging and high energy workshop. After sitting in the session, you leave feeling like you can replicate what you just witnessed the facilitator do. It was flawless! The facilitator made it look so easy. The part you didn't see was the certification the presenter had to complete in order to attain the knowledge and skills needed to deliver at a flawless level.

I didn't wake up like this!

And although what I do may look flawless, it's because I put in the work. Many times, putting in the work required planning, sacrificing, failing, and even starting over.

If you know me, then you know I believe in excellence at all costs. I began my career as a teacher and it goes without saying that I took my job pretty seriously. My Mom was old school (I suppose I'm old school now) and she set the standard for how she expected my sister and I to represent (her) when we left the house. Essentially - flawless. In doing so, it required planning. Getting a wardrobe and style that fit within our budget and that didn't require us to go out and buy new clothes every time we got ready to go somewhere. She taught us how to build a wardrobe with a few basic timeless pieces.

On the way to flawless, I've had to sacrifice. Late hours. Missed trips. Unable to splurge.

The sacrifice caused me to give up things. Choosing to miss out in order to spend the necessary time toward putting in the work (studying, taking a class, fine-tuning a presentation, taking a pay cut...). Several years ago, I was aspiring to become an assistant principal. At the time, I was an academic coach. In this role, I was making more money that the base salary for assistant principals. I was approaching the top 25% of the teacher salary pay scale. Pursuing an assistant principal position would mean taking a pay cut to make this career move. It was tough, but the sacrifice was worth it. It's important to add that sometimes something that looks flawless to you is a sacrifice for the person going through it.

Even with my best effort, sometimes I fall short or flat out fail. I'm my worst critic, but I've got to tell you, I set high expectations for myself. But when I flop, quite naturally it doesn't feel good. So to reduce the chances of it happening again, I reflect on what led up to the outcome. I'm a vocalist and on occasion I have one of those performances that is less than remarkable. In one of my other blogs, I talk about how landing the first note helps me successfully get through a song. It takes hours of practice. Missed notes. Failed (lyrical) runs. All on the way to the finished flawless performance.

Finally, sometimes you have to start over. It's not always apparent where others are on their journey. From the sidelines we try to assess how hard people are working or what it takes for them to produce the work that we're seeing, but sometimes people have already failed. What you're seeing is a result of them starting over. I've had to start over many times. The beauty in starting over is you've already had a dry-run of what starting feels like. Hopefully, you took some notes or have some lessons learned so that your second or third go 'round doesn't look like the first time. That's how you make it look flawless.

I didn't wake up like this. I've had shortcomings, disappointments, and moments where I had to start all over. The good news is, that through these challenges, I've discovered how to create flawless work. It might look easy to the naked eye but understand I had to put in the work!

Check out my blog Confidence Building 101.

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