The Totally Avoidable Way We Mess Things Up

So this past week I hit a wall. Literally.



The good news, beside the fact that I’m uninjured and therefore able to write this blog, is that it happened because I was exhausted from our exciting move.

To Paris. France.

It happened at the tail end of moving day. We’d spent weeks getting ready and were finally in the home stretch, which included dropping my beloved Jeep off at a friend’s home for safe-keeping.

What happened? I was circling around a store parking lot as we headed out and saw that I was getting close to the (very concrete) wall. I convinced myself I could make it and so didn’t even bother to slow down.


What really happened? I was exhausted. I was cranky. I was ravenously hungry. I knew it would be close, but I lost my rational mind. I got sloppy.

And so, instead of taking an extra few seconds to slow down to check my distance, I just kept going.


I’m sorry to say this is not my first time messing things up right at the end of a project…a project I’ve thrown everything into throughout the process, only to cause all kinds of extra work and chaos at the end.

Each time I’ve just wanted to get the thing done…and so I’ve allowed my concentration and efforts to get all sloppy in the end.

And that’s when I’ve realized that the end is the part people remember most.


The worst part? Each incident was completely avoidable.

Perhaps you can relate.

  • Perhaps you’ve put together the perfect power point presentation but didn’t rehearse out loud before meeting with your client because you were sick of the data…so you didn’t come off as knowledgeable as you wanted.
  • Perhaps you’ve spent hours baking a luscious quiche, only to pull it out five minutes before it was fully cooked to get the meal going…so it didn’t come out as tasty as you wanted.
  • Perhaps you’ve carefully sent out dozens of emails throughout the workday, only to quickly shoot off an error-filled one to your boss just before 5pm…so you didn’t come off as professional as you wanted.

So, if this has indeed happened to you, join me on the not-sloppy-anymore train, will you?

Together we will:

  • Recognize our pattern of working so hard on a project that we fry ourselves out by the end…and plan better pacing from the start
  • Remind ourselves, as we inevitably begin to impatiently push through that last bit, that this task is important…and think of how proud we will be when the outcome is what we want
  • Force ourselves as we near the home stretch to stand up and walk away for just a beat…so that we take a breath, get focused, and finish strong

Promise that we will – literally and figuratively– take our foot off the gas pedal when we feel ourselves getting sloppy. Which will help us avoid hurting ourselves, our reputations, and our beloved modes of transportation.

And which will give us the kind of successful closure we need to energetically start our next big thing…which just might include writing a blog in Paris. France.

moulin rouge

Author’s Note: please don’t judge me for writing in the seedier part of France near the Moulin Rouge. The Eiffel Tower Starbucks is significantly more expensive.

Another note: expect lots of anecdotes regarding my future shenanigans and hard-earned lessons in France over the next few months. Frankly, I’m curious to see how this all turns out myself.

This week…

Avoid hitting the wall. Finish whatever you do with the same level of focus and excellence with which you began. Plan ahead and pace yourself to finish everything you do with pride, no matter how exhausted you are.

Be the awesome you that we all know you are. All the way to the end.

Now, go do good…and do it well.

15 thoughts on “The Totally Avoidable Way We Mess Things Up

  1. Rhonda Anderson says:

    Thanks for sharing! Great insight and very timely as one who does push to the end and finds herself not quite coming off as ____ as she’d like at times.


    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      My pleasure…glad you found it useful Rhonda!

  2. Melanie says:

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂 and France?! Congrats!!

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      Thanks…and thanks! And yes, I have to admit we’re pretty excited. We’re just trying to keep our cool over here in France. We think playing it coy makes sense over here… 🙂

  3. Karin says:

    Wow, Paris! Enjoy living the dream.

  4. Patty says:

    Thanks again for a great reminder. I can relate in pushing, rushing and hitting a mental brick wall. Enjoy your stay in Paris!

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      Thanks Patty…just wish mine was mental instead of so physical 🙂 Appreciate the comment!

  5. Scott says:

    I think you’ll appreciate this. My 23 year old daughter and 24 year old son-in-law who is graduating in May from the University of Montana in Missoula and have been on a quest for a month to find a place to live in Helena where he’s landed a job with the State – yes there is a time crunch. He’s finishing up his Masters, looking at houses to rent, or buy, and my daughter is trying to finish up her work over the next couple weeks trying not to be too OCD to miss the excitement of this moment in just their second year of marriage. Cliff notes; they find a great little house, has only been on the market a couple days, drive to Helena to look at 6 properties, decide to put in an offer, the sellers counter, my phone rings yesterday but I’m with someone and can’t talk just then to my daughter. I call her five minutes later, no answer. I’m excited to help as I’m the CFO, Banker, Financial wizard guy, but she doesn’t call back. I text her before my head hits the pillow and on my way to work get a text that says they felt it was all getting too crazy and they decided not to talk about the deal for the night. They took a break and slept on it. My 23 year old daughter and her 24 year old husband, showing just how much wisdom can come from such young people. I texted her back and encouraged her, and told her how proud I was that they took some time to think instead of just pushing the gas peddle to the wall. The rest of the story… five o’clock today – contract countered, counter was accepted, and they are moving down the path of appraisals, inspections, and other hurdles towards their first home. I’m proud they put on the brakes when they new it was getting crazy, and they were exhausted. They had a sense they weren’t thinking clearly. How many of us would have just pushed through to get that great little property that surely would be gone if we didn’t act. It must be true…still water runs deep. Thanks for the reminder…

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