Learning or Performing Mode

“Are you in learning mode or performing mode?” I recollect our master facilitator call out every time we began a practice session. We had to say aloud, “I am in learning mode”

Initially, I wondered about the difference it would make. Gradually, it became obvious; while in learning mode, we were

  • willing to experiment and try new ways of delivery
  • open to make mistakes and not overthink about them
  • grateful for feedback and suggestions received, belief that people give feedback only when they care
  • learning to enjoy the journey, not just focusing on the destination
  • in a relaxed state of mind, working and learning amongst friends

Had we been in performance mode, here’s how it’s likely to play out:

  • focus is on flawless execution, perfect delivery
  • no room for mistakes as they can be disastrous, seen as proof of incompetence
  • feedback feels like someone is trying to find faults or holding back
  • achieving the goals on time is critical
  • anxious to succeed, constantly checking to make sure I am on right track

Both modes are important – one cannot and should not stay in either mode forever! However, it’s important to know which mode to use when, and how often.

If we spend too much in performance mode, we will stay in our comfort zone, avoid making mistakes, getting reprimanded. We will never try something new or different at work.

On the other hand, too much time spent in learning mode is detrimental as we will restrict our ability to truly deliver great performance (which we are ultimately preparing for)

When we find a balance between two modes, we will be ready to execute in performance mode with minimal mistakes in high pressure situations with confidence.

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