Are you one of those persons who like to evaluate your performance during the year? I am. I do it every year. I have been doing it for more than a decade with very positive result
Nevertheless, I completely understand those who decide not to follow this practice.
Edna Mode’s claim: to never look back because it distracts you from the now, is a legit one. After all, it is only in the present where you can really experience life and fully exploit your potential, and living in the past or in the future is one of the most common and difficult-to-deal distractions.
This sounds redundant but the fact is that so many people live their lives in the past (dominated by the events that they could not get over with) or in the future (dominated by the expectations they have built for themselves).
These distractions can even grow to overwhelming proportions.
There’s a story told by Viktor Frankl in one of his public interviews where he depicts part of the life of two men, Nazi concentration camp survivors that had suffered the same terrible circumstances during their imprisonment and got to meet again thirty years later.
One of them was able to continue with his live and had become a very successful business person. The other one lived in the ostracism. The later was still bitter and suffering the consequences of the trauma lived.
The only difference between them was that the former had made a conscious decision to live in the present.
Back to the subject, giving some basic conditions, taking an objective look to our past can be a very powerful source of information. It has been for me.
Professionally, it has become a tool I had to learn the hard way. I once made a huge and costly mistake allowing other professionals to evaluate my work under their parameters.
Today, I perform my own evaluation and take the time to distribute it to every member of the project I am involved with, even if nobody asks for it. This practice has become my most powerful tool in my professional career.
I was so happy with this tool that I decided to implement it in my personal life. The outcome has being very different, as expected, but as much worthy.
I have being able to obtain critical information for solving some of the most important questions one may ask to oneself, like: what is it that you really want and what are the major obstacles in your life for achieving your goals?
And there’s a bonus. The act of reviewing your experiences during the whole year produces awareness (That’s why I decided to include this practice as part of the mindfulness training to become a true explorer).
It works like this: as soon as you start reviewing your experiences, with as many details as possible, you start “savoring” the year. Soon, new conclusions arise, like recognizing that, maybe, the year was not as bad as it looked, or that time has not passed as fast as it seemed.
Preparing yourself for your auto-evaluation.
If you decide to evaluate your performance during 2011, there are some basic conditions that you might want to previously contemplate.
1.- Start Now.- First of all, it would be a good idea to start taking the first steps now (right after thanksgiving), before the food, the social commitments, spirit and the traffic takes over of your time.
This first steps may include reading your agenda, preparing the environment, marking a date in the calendar, preparing whatever ritual works best for you.
2.- Drain it from emotions.- You have to commit yourself to make an objective analysis, which implies forbidding your emotions to take over. Whenever a strong emotion, -especially guilt- takes place, it always will stand in your way of seeing things clearly, and you won’t be able to perform an objective analysis.
3.- Edit:- The third important thing to consider is to be aware that you are allowed to “edit” the process. It is your analysis and is your decision to leave out whatever you consider irrelevant, time consuming or energy consuming, and to focus on what is most related with your goals,
So, what do you think? Will you dare to evaluate your performance during 2011?