You can’t judge your success based on how you feel. I learned this co-hosting a radio program a few years ago. Some of the episodes that felt so great during recording turned out to be the least interesting. Some of the episodes that felt like dental surgery turned out to be the most compelling. If I had evaluated the success of each show based on how I felt while I was doing it, I would have been wrong most of the time.
It’s the same with speeches, submissions, app design, fundraising appeals, legal arguments, client service, and media relations. Your feelings lie.
You may be having an off day when you give a speech, but someone in the audience might have been craving your exact words at this exact time. They don’t care that you have a cold or you forgot your intro. You reached them anyway. One of the best grant proposals I ever wrote was never read, because the money ran out before the grant reader got to the bottom of the pile. It happens.
This was a startling lesson for me. Maybe other people already knew it, maybe it’s my quasi-millenial narcism coming through, but it was/is groundbreaking to realize that we can’t judge whether we are succeeding or failing based just on how we feel.* There are too many factors that have nothing to do with us or our perspective at a given moment.
* The exception, of course, is that when something feels horridly, ethically, personally, atrociously wrong. Then, of course, listen to your feelings and run.