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How Important is Effort?

I talk a lot about Falling Down and the importance of redefining success to include the effort and the experience itself.

Within our various worlds, most of the time we are graded on the results we drive and not the effort. Try telling your spouse, “Sorry honey – I tried hard to get to the store to get you a card for our anniversary but I just couldn’t get there.” or your boss, “We worked really hard but missed our goal by 25%”

Doesn’t play well does it?  Realistically, we need some sort of measure to evaluate the impact we are having in these worlds.

However, when it comes to learning, effort can be more important than results. That is why I write about redefining success as effort when it comes to personal and professional development. It’s the process of trying something new, sometimes succeeding – sometimes falling down, reviewing and reassessing it, and then trying again, that offers the rich experience that will give you the new skills and wisdom.

My son’s 4th grade teacher recently sent home an effort rubric that they will use:

4 – Excellent
I worked on task until it was completed.
I was able to push myself when things got tough.
I was able to keep going on the task all by myself.
I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishing the difficult task.

3 –Good
I worked on task until completed
I was able to push myself when things got difficult.
I needed some encouragement when things got tough.

2 – Needs Improvement
I put some effort into this task
I got stuck when things got hard.
My teacher and/or my classmates needed to keep encouraging me a lot!

1 – Unacceptable
I did not finish the task
I gave up in the middle of the task.
No matter who encouraged me, I couldn’t finish the job.

Note that the indicator is driven by 1) completing the task (not the results) 2) how did you respond when things became challenging 3) how self-directed, self-motivated and self-encouraging you were, and could you get  satisfaction from your efforts!

Wow – that is a different way to grade.

Timing is funny – I just had a conversation with one of my clients this morning who is moving from a qualitative sales role with very tangible measures to more of a national role where his responsibility is more focused on building internal relationships to grow the opportunities across the many departments of his large organization.

I think I’ll share this with him.

By the way, how would you grade yourself for something you did today?

6 Responses to “How Important is Effort?”

  1. Ruth Sheahan says:

    Awesome, this is my new self-grading system 🙂

  2. Mike Jaffe says:

    Thanks Ruth. I’m going to start using it as well. Write back and let us know how it’s working and if it’s creating new opportunities, impacting your confidence to try new things, and stop you from beating yourself up if you’re not perfect out of the gate…

  3. Mitchell says:

    I’ll give myself a 4 today…I truly enjoyed the feeling of today’s accomplishments!

  4. Mike Jaffe says:

    Mitchell – great way to end the week!

  5. Mei says:

    Thanks Mike,This is a big help for me. I’ll give myself a grade of 4 today for the job that I accomplished in the office.

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