I attended a friends wedding last year when I was a part of the wedding party (Head Usher. Not best man but I’m not bitter – his loss right?) and required for the first time in my life to self-tie a bow tie.
A couple of weeks before the wedding I dutifully went on to Youtube, had a couple of guided run throughs, managed to nail a couple of good attempts and then proceeded to store the tie away for safe keeping, informing on Facebook to the other ushers, best man, groom etc that I had this under control.
Fast forward 15 days later. I’m in a hotel room in Thailand half an hour before the wedding, frantically trying to mine and the rest of the wedding parties ties.I have the shakes from nerves, questions running through my head:
Fail to prepare…
We managed to get the internet connection up in the room for the video and, fortunately, get everthing in order so we did not look a total rabble on the day.
Needless to say, having publicly said I could sort everyone out and then failing so miserably was embarassing and also a little upsetting – I was really spooked that I would embarass not only myself but others (I worry less about doing it to myself. If I did, I would never leave the house in the morning).
What it reminded me was it is not enough to simply to complete a new task or skill and assume you have mastered it; you need to be able to understand how you achieved the result as well as perhaps considering how you could improve on it – in this case, consider what was the easiest way for me tie the bow tie as well as teach others how to also.
Rinse and Repeat
Fast forward a year later. A colleague mentions about how their partner has a much more exciting work day, having just had to deal with a gun shot victim who actually turned out to be a criminal on the run, meaning the hospital ward he works in went all very Wire-esque security wise, which was all pretty exciting really. Shame that nothing like that ever happens in our office…
What is the style equivalent of bringing a gun to work but with more impact (you could debate that last point either way if you think about it)? Yep, you guessed it – it was time to man up with another bow tie episode.
This time I practiced. Then I practised some more. I kept rinsing and repeating, again and again until I had it nailed.
I then I thought about how I actually did it when it worked – where did I put each part of the tie, what hand did I use, does it work better when I use a mirror etc.
I not only knew I was able to do it but had a clear understanding of how to manage each step, which were the harder parts (so not to get flustered), not to mention change steps which did not suit my needs (i.e. I am left handed so do not try and tie it as though I was right handed).
The results can be seen above – I will let you be the judge as to whether I managed to get it done effectively or not. The point I hope you do take away from this is the value of assessment and evaluation. It is one thing to undertake a task but another to be able to understand how you did it and, more importantly, how you will complete it in the future.