In most cases action can be broken down to a three part process consisting of preparation, performance, and self reflection. This cycle continues itself multiple times a day as we frequently attempt to perform many different actions in many different professional and personal life spheres.
The act of preparation leading to performance is essential because what we choose to prepare for will dictate how well we are ready to succeed. Preparation alone never guarantees us success, but preparation does allow us to put thought into what our plan of action might look like and give us an opportunity to individualize this plan. The greatest plans are those that are created with the desired outcome in mind. This is not the external outcome regarding winning and losing, rather it is the outcome regarding how we will respond internally to a situation.
Primarily we go into performance focused on how we will react when adversity comes our way and don’t allow ourselves to focus on how we will respond to being successful. We all mostly experience failure more than we experience success, partially because we put ourselves in challenging situations, but also because we train ourselves how to respond to failure and never really learn how to respond to success. In doing this we learn how to respond to situations, not how to initiate action within a given situation. Our preparation should focus on acting and not reacting, we should expect success by planning on being successful not by enduring enough to get to success.
Performance leading to self reflection is defined by the space between action ending and self reflection beginning. I came across some material that called this space the “gap”, which makes sense because it is the gap that separates future successes from future failures. At the moment performance ends there is a split second where you feel your primary response without excuses. Our thoughts in the “gap” will have an influence on our ability to self reflect and in what we choose to self reflect on. If our immediate response in the “gap” is a negative one then we will choose to self reflect on the negative aspect of our performance, while if our “gap” response is positive, we can expect a positive entry into self reflection.
Our “gap” response is not uncontrollable and is not unconditionally primal. In fact our “gap” response has more to do with how we prepared than it has to do with how we preformed. If I prepared solely on a time based goal then I can expect only two “gap” responses; elation or disappointment which will eventually skew my ability to self reflect honestly. If my preparation includes defining how I will take control over my success, than my “gap” response will have multiple options because success comes in multiple levels.
Eventually, we then look at the transition of self reflection to preparation as a time for renewal. Cycles end with self reflection for a reason, and that reason is so that we can honestly evaluate not only where we have been, but how we plan to get somewhere else next time around. The better we are at self reflecting, the better plan we can make for our next performance.