Centuries ago, an alliance of 32 nations made some serious demands against one tiny country. “Give us all your gold, silver, wives, children, and every precious thing you own” they said, or we’ll grind your entire population to dust.” The threatened king sent back this message: “The one who puts on his armor should not boast like him who takes it off.”
Boasting. Grandiose claims about what an individual intends to do. This is common practice in business and the personal life. But is it a good idea?
Sales guys talk in the company breakroom about the deals they’re GOING to close. Many folks detail the impressive accomplishments they’ll achieve SOMEDAY (while watching TV reruns.) Major life improvements will surely become habits as soon as _____________. Fill in the blank. Sadly, large percentages of these flamboyant assertions never see daylight.
Perhaps a better technique would be to do the work – clearly define an objective, consider obstacles, form plans for best-case and what-if scenarios, prioritize, and then execute next steps. Sure, these can and should be shared with the team, but in a “Here’s the mission” kind of way rather than with the arrogance of “We’re gonna kick booty.”
Celebrations are great. They can galvanize an organization and build a person’s confidence, providing a leg up for the next challenge. The festivities, however, should happen after the win … not before it.
The underdog army in the story above went on the offensive, and, though highly outnumbered, took a tremendous victory. I can only imagine what that night’s party must have been like. No doubt it took place, appropriately, after they took their armor off.
7 comments on “Armor Time” Add yours →
Great piece, Steve. I find that the deepest satisfactions come from quietly committing to a goal and working towards its achievement. Success and celebration come at the end. Call me superstitious, but to boast or make predictions up front only adds unnecessary pressure and increases the chances of failure and embarrassment.
Great reminder of sound principles. (Proverbs 14:23 All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.)
Wonderful advice, Steve.
We often want to celebrate before the outcome to make ourselves feel better. When it doesn’t happen, we are disappointed. It’s better to keep quiet and follow the technique you suggest which will hopefully lead to the celebration later.
I love the reminder to celebrate at the appropriate time and “Do” the steps instead of just talking about them. I feel like my backbone just got a gentle alignment… Steve the Cognitive Chiropractor! LOL Blessings to you! Nancy
That is a great reminder to me to stop talking about the plan, but get it done then talk about it. Thanks Steve .
Nice insights, glad you are back writing.