Chapter 11. "Getting It Right": The Struggle toward Self-Confidence

When I take on a challenge, I give everything I have to make it a success. I pour every conceivable drop of energy and every pound of effort I can into a project, leaving myself thoroughly wrung out and exhausted because I expect to succeed. I would never begin something and think, "You know—I'm going to shoot for 80 percent here." That kind of thought process is utterly alien, completely foreign, and, frankly, absolutely unacceptable to me. When my name is attached to something, it is, in a most literal sense, a representation of who I am. And for that reason, I refuse to allow myself to be labeled passable or all right or good enough when it should be great.

Because I saddle myself with towering expectations—because I expect to do well—when I do succeed, I don't initiate raucous fanfare or wild applause. There's not a great deal to celebrate when you expected the positive outcome in the first place. I am pleased, of course, but I think, "Okay. That's what I was shooting for; now it's a reality, so on to the next thing." There isn't a surprise element or an unexpected twist at the end. It is what I was planning for, plain and simple.

The other side of the looking glass reveals an alternate reality dotted with disappointments and places where my arrow missed the target. Those are much more unsettling, of course, because they were wholly unwelcomed and not part of the plan. Receiving difficult news or sales figures ...

Get Weaving Dreams: The Joy of Work, The Love of Life now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.