Knock Out the Highs and Lows

It's how you average performance improves

What a weekend!

I had an amazing call with a client on Saturday morning, then did the toughest workout yet at the gym, had a wander into to town to get some provisions in and then settled to get on with some work.

I’ve got so much to do at the moment; writing scripts for new videos, new emails to support the campaign I’m going to be launching soon, finalising the new MVP (minimum viable product) for my new digital programme on emotional intelligence. So Saturday was actually meant to be a busy working day.

Time for the Olympics wasn’t really on the agenda but I’d been hooked, emotionally. I wanted to know how our team was getting on and I couldn’t concentrate on the job at hand. Tae Kwando, triathlon, boxing, hockey, plus many others, all sports I have absolutely no interest in for 3 years and 50 weeks suddenly become magnetic viewing.

So it was with the diving. I was rooting for Tom Daley of course, and his Olympic record in the qualifying stages boded well for his medal chances but it all went wrong in the final and he came last. Disaster.

What intrigues me with the diving, and it’s the same in gymnastics, is the scoring system. Where the top two marks from the judges are discarded, as are the lowest and the final score achieved is worked out based on the middle scores achieved.

For some reason the highest and lowest scores aren’t trusted and I guess it’s to take out any subliminal bias the judges might show to the competitors.

I could have done with my own set of Olympic judges last night.

You see, Saturday had been amazing because my client had sent me a testimonial. These are the last lines from it:

During our program, I learnt to think and feel my thoughts and feel and think of my feelings. I start to be conscious about why I do, what I do.

 At the end, I learnt to be myself; and for sure, it is one of the greatest achievements of my life.

This was like receiving a 9.9 from the Russian judge and I was “over the moon”. It’s what powered me on to workout so well at the gym, I was buzzing.

However that feeling had started to ebb away by the evening as I fell further and further behind my schedule and by the evening I was ruing my fixation with the Olympics as I looked over the mountain of work still to be done.

Never mind I still had Sunday, I could catch up.

Of course catch up meant watching Mo Farrah win his second gold, the girls win their 400m relay bronze and various other replays. Anything to distract me from the work mountain I was facing.

By the early afternoon I had completed one of my biggest jobs, an updated version of the video for my coach to review. But it hadn’t gone well and I was less than happy with it when I emailed it to her.

And then an email came in from another of the mentors I am investing in. She is amazingly successful and is helping me to develop the digital side of my business.

It was a long email, telling the story of what it has taken for her to get to where she is today.

Suddenly I was on the floor, metaphorically. From the high of receiving my client’s testimonial all I could now see was how far away I was from the goal I have set myself.

I felt like I was in one of those Hollywood horror movies when, in the moment of panic for the heroes, the escape door starts to zoom away and they can’t reach it no matter how hard they try.

A sense of doom and failure descended over me and I just had to get out.

I had to go to the tip to get rid of 6 months’ worth of accumulated rubbish, from my office,that and an hour at the driving range would sort me out.

When I got back I felt exhausted; I still had a lot to do but the energy wasn’t there and I thought “what would I say to a client if they were telling me this story?”

Forget the highs and lows, do what they do at the Olympics, just take the middle scores.

The poem “IF” by Rudyard Kipling is one of my favourites and I always turn to it when things seem a little difficult. He wrote it about a 100 years ago but for me it is as relevant today as then.

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same”

The testimonial was great and was a great high, the video felt like a failure and was a horrible low, but when I got rid of them from my thinking and looked at the middle, how my average had moved on, I realised that it had been a good weekend.

Have a great day but don’t get too hooked on your highs or your lows. It’s how far you move your average that counts.

Dean Stuart's SignatureDene Stuart
Chief Thinking Officer


Dene is a qualified practitioner in Personality Profiling and Emotional Intelligence and has delivered training in these areas to hundreds of people in one to one coaching programmes, workshops and talks to business groups and students. He has twenty years experience in high pressure senior corporate roles and has started, developed and closed several businesses. He has enjoyed significant success, and has come through personal and business failure.