Judgment is one of your biggest culprits keeping you from your potential and robbing you of joy.
Simple put, a judgment is a crafted opinion of someone or something.
It’s common to judge our results or the results of other people. We’ll say it in so many words… “I like this result.” “I don’t like that result.” Whatever the judgment is leads to place meaning on something out of our control, which is the result instead of the action.
When I was a younger coach, I judged myself on client results. This was not an exercise in how I could be more effective, strategic, and communicate more clearly. It was a rollercoaster of judgments of “I’m great” followed up by “I suck.”
My judgments were all based on the results of someone ELSE. I judged myself based on the results of one 30 minute conversation. If they improved from the previous week, I was good. If not, what’s MY problem? Logically, you can easily see how this didn’t set me up for sustained success.
I would beat myself up. I would replay conversations about what I could have done and should have done. Not in a constructive manner, in a destructive pattern. Of course, I didn’t tell anyone and at least consciously no one knew when my confidence was shaky. And overall, I was doing a good job. Yet, the judgment caused me mute how I coached because I was worried about messing up.
This cycle might sound familiar. You judge the result of something as negative. You beat yourself up in some capacity because you “should’ve” done better and re-litigate what you did or didn’t do. You then project those thoughts & emotions into the future, which drives anxiety by thinking that something negative will happen as a result.
With those thoughts around perceived problems you don’t perform to our capabilities. You’re tight and hedge bets. That sucks our joy from the process.
Even if we judge ourselves to be good, the judgment can have an undesired effect. When our “goodness” becomes an identity, anything that would contradict the identity is a threat.
When we get out to the edges of our potential and push the envelope and setbacks become more and more probable, we’ll hold back and play it safe. We play not to lose instead of playing to win.
Then when we do make the inevitable misstep, we beat ourselves up even harder for not living up to the identity created from our judgment.
Once I let go of my self-judgment, I was able to look objectively at the gaps in my skill set. We all have gaps and skills to enhance. The non-judgement objection thinking led me to see that the path to consistent coaching client success came from deeper inside of themselves. I saw my opportunity to skill-up on using the mind to get results. Working from the inside out is the foundation of the practice and responsible for the results clients create.
You can now clearly see that judgements set us up for greater mental & emotional adversity and negatively affect our results.
Judgments can be “positive” or “negative.” Most of the time when we think about judgments it’s around a negative judgment. We only see it through the lens of “don’t judge me” or “that’s terrible…he’s terrible.” We think the remedy is to stop the negative judging.
What’s the opposite of judging something as bad? Is your knee jerk reaction… the opposite of bad is good? Actually, the opposite of judging something as bad is non-judgment. Good is simply another judgment.
Instead, we want to tease out facts and find lessons that we can use to take more effective actions in the future.
As example, you hear golfers talk about hitting a poor shot… it goes in the rough or worse in the water. When the ball goes in the water, it puts their next shot near where it flew over the water. That’s it. That’s the fact.
Yet the typical response is to berate themselves for hitting such a poor shot and then project what affect the “predicament” they are in will have on that hole and then the entire round. The more and longer they judge, the more the round is negatively affected.
Moving past judgments takes some intentionality, yet once you get into these practices, it becomes a 2nd nature.
The 3 S’s of Non-Judgment
- Separate facts vs your opinion or slant on the facts.
You hit a goal you set. That is a fact. You missed a goal you set. Once again, a fact. Be able to look at those facts as stand-alone information. Get good at telling yourself this is what is (in a neutral, “non-Eeyore” kind of way).
2. Stay in the present moment.
Rumination over the past or anxiety toward the future are either symptoms of or cause of judgments. Either way, coming back to the present will take care of the rumination and/or anxiety and will allow space to let go of the judgment.
Use mindfulness practices that get you back to the present. There’s tons of resources for proper, science-backed techniques that will melt away the judgments.
3. See the person or yourself, not the action or result.
Stephen Covey noted that we judge others based on what they do. They will do something and get a result and we’ll say “they are [fill in the blank with the result].” We can do something to ourselves.
Instead, adopt the mindset that people are not their actions. Realize that there are no unresourceful people, just unresourceful states. That goes for you, too. Look at people (and you) as creative, resourceful and whole.
Eliminating judgment is on the path of peak performance and elevated joy. Use the 3 S’s. Contact me should you want support in dropping your judgment.