Dissect or Reflect?

by | Apr 7, 2022

Do you ever find yourself hearing yourself complain about the same thing over and over? Do you fall into the same patterns, which result in mild self-torture and misery?

Do you ever have that head-smack moment when you realize oh crap, I could take control of this scenario and choose a different set of routines that would be highly less annoying for everyone involved? 

Welcome to my week. 

I might have just tackled one of those annoying routines. Tackled–not destroyed–but definitely did some damage. 

I have/had/am freeing myself from this AWESOME habit of immediately going into dissecting and assessing mode immediately after any sort of presentation. We’re talking my finger is about to make contact with the red “End Meeting” button on Zoom and I’m already asking myself, “OK–how was it? What did they take away? What worked? What could I do differently next time? What should I change? What should I keep the same? Did I say that line right? Did they laugh at my jokes?” (The answer to that last one, ✅.) 

What is helpful about this habit is…approximately nothing. 

There’s no time to process. No time to take a breath. No time to come down off the adrenaline rush. No space. No perspective. No objectivity. 

That state of mind, coupled with a chronic case of I’m-hard-on-myself-itis, leads to dissecting. Nit-picking every last detail. Getting really binary: good or bad? Effective or not? Worked or failed?

I delivered a workshop on Tuesday, and as I hit that red button, I felt the wave of dissection approach. 

This time, I saw–more like felt–it coming on. I started to freak about the tech issues. NOT NOW, ERIN. I started to reassess the timing. NOT NOW, ERIN. I questioned if my stories landed. NOT NOW ERIN. 

I was working my new rule: no feedback, no assessing, no reflecting until 24 hours after delivery. 

Wednesday morning, I was up with my journal and THEN I allowed myself to REFLECT, not dissect. 

I asked:

What part of the presentation went well?

Why do I think it went well?

What would I do differently next time?

A few of these questions are inspired by Rob Hatch, who wrote the book Attention! He talks about the goal of those questions is to replicate what works, not rabbit hole about what did not. You can feel the difference in those questions compared to my normal post-event–dissection. 

Reflecting on my reflecting, I realized none of the original concerns or worries were valid 24-hours later. I gave some productive thought to how I could approach things differently next time. The difference now is it wasn’t an OMG I HAVE TO CHANGE THAT but it was rather oh, that worked and the surveys say the participants loved that part, I’m going to do more of that! 

Reflecting and debriefing are two of the most impactful habits in my business and in my life. One 24-hour reflection session down, I can tell that wait time, the power in the pause, is where it’s at. 

I’m going to declare that the immediate assessing and dissecting with a high chance of destruction days are done. They weren’t that sweet anyway. 

Are you an immediate assessor or a 24-hour reflector? Hit reply and let me know!

Talk soon,



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