Being out of form
As a sports fan I am well used to discussions of ‘form’. Football players can be on and off form at almost the drop of a hat; with cricket players we are often reminded that ‘form is temporary and class is permanent’.
The concept of ‘form’ has always interested me; it is in many ways a fleeting concept and yet given a lot of weight by those who comment on our nation’s favourite sports. It’s both a catch all term used to define whether someone is generally doing things right or doing things wrong but also a relative term balancing a performance in one moment of time with a performance once made or a potential or optimum performance. Thus, if I play football to my normal standard I am on form whilst if Theo Walcott plays like me he is off form.
Thus, form becomes relative to individual potential; something which tends to separate it, and the sporting world it inhabits, from the rest of us.
You see, whilst Theo Walcott (sorry for picking on you Theo) could be on or off form compared to his career heights we, the members of the local authority, are generally compared to our compatriots or our job specification. What’s more; even if we are compared to our past performance, and even if it is accepted that we are not performing as well as we have in the past it is usually put down to laziness, or people not trying as hard as they usually would. Theo Walcott can be on or off form; apparently the rest of us can’t.
Is that right?
After all, if it is possible for a sportsman to lose form then surely it also possible for a member of staff in a local authority to lose form?
If we view form in a more general sense then, divorced from its sporting basis, then surely form is just a reflection of the human condition, one that is not consistent and leads to differing performances at different times.
The reason I mention all of this is that if there is such a thing as form then I have lost it. I don’t know why but I just don’t feel on form.
In meetings I have found my arguments being less than crisp; my reports are not quite as accurate; my project documentation is not as well thought through and generally I feel like I’m lacking the edge that used to define my work.
Am I working any less hard than usual? Nope. Am I trying to perform poorly? Certainly not. Is there an obvious reason why my performance isn’t quite up to the standard I want it to be? Not that I can think of.
Indeed, I can’t even think of an obvious reason for why this is happening (although as always there are a number of possible factors; some serious, some really not).
If form exists as a concept then surely my current performance must be down to something akin to a lack of form. It’s not a good thing to be out of form and it’s certainly not an excuse for not performing at the top of my game but the concept of form can be applied to Theo and co then surely it can also work for those of us at work.
Over the course of a lifetime maybe we can’t always be at the top of our game. On a football field it is really noticeable but in the council it should still matter. Much like Kevin Pieterson (a comparison I never thought I’d make of myself) being out of form is not something I enjoy.
So what can I do about my lack of form?
Well, I can follow the instructions of my favourite sport stars: ‘stay consistent, work hard and give 110%’. In other words, I’m going to work a little harder, check and double check my work and keep trying until I get my mojo back.
Any thoughts on this much appreciated.
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