Formal appraisals assess our performance during the entire year, that is, work done, accomplishments, achievements or misses. However, to excel in our professional as well as personal life, it does not suffice to be aware only of these. It is also of utmost importance that we evaluate and recognize ourselves as individuals. This is the key to improving our performance as well as ensuring our personal wellbeing.
It is time for a self-introspection or a ‘selfie’, if you prefer. This is an opportunity to evaluate ourselves in order to make our future better and more meaningful, as no performance appraisal does that for us. So, let’s look at some themes that will help us bring ourselves under the lens, to consolidate our learnings of the year and thereby learn from our own experiences.
My self-discovery. As they say, learning never stops. This holds true for learning about one’s self as well. Growth is a journey during which it is important to keep discovering and amazing ourselves. In one of my organizations a few years back, I was given the task of preparing a write-up on the HR practices of the organization. Being a newbie and a novice at writing, the assignment created quite a stir in my mind. However, with some support and a firm mindset, I penned down a fairly decent write-up that ultimately went on to earn appreciation from the who’s who of the company. That I could write became quite a cheerful discovery about myself for that year and still remains pretty much so. It has also helped me portray myself as a communicative and transparent person in my everyday work life. The key is to keep trying new things and keep discovering.
My biggest mistake. Our mistakes cost us, and quite dearly at times. However, they teach us a lot as well. We make some mistakes unknowingly and others knowingly. While the former become learnings for us, the latter should become even bigger learnings. For example, some time back one of my colleagues, by mistake, divulged confidential employee data in an email sent to many colleagues. The impact of the mistake was that there were numerous questions raised about work ethics and confidentiality, when in reality it was an inadvertent error. This mistake still remains etched in her memory. However, now she has become very cautious and careful when handling communication. One needs to be true to one’s inner self, admit the mistakes he or she made and strive to never repeat it. That should be the motto for the future.
My new hobby/activity. While developing ourselves as professionals, we also need to develop our minds — as a sound mind is an imperative in today’s fast-moving and dynamic work environment. A leisure activity is like a refuge that can help us gain a positive and healthy mindset. It is a vent to let go of negative thoughts and emotions, an outlet to release our creative self. A person might be able to find ‘his space’ while baking those delicious cakes. Another may reach that relaxed state while going for long runs in the park. And we never know, that might help achieve the unique balance we all need in our lives.
My driving factor. What drives us and what holds us back when it comes to doing certain things? This is the question everyone should be able to answer, as it can prove to be a major push or a big obstacle to growth. I have seen colleagues who are very innovative, creative and often brimming with ideas. However, they prefer to take the back bench when it comes to execution of those ideas. We all want to linger in our comfort zones but one needs to face those fears and vow to overcome them. We need to discover ourselves, play to our strengths and devise a plan to develop on at least that one weakness of ours that holds us back. And it will not be a surprise if, a few years down the line, we realize that we have managed to conquer our fears and further strengthened ourselves, one at a time!
This list can be elaborate and vivid. It will vary for each one of us. However, the essence remains the same – peeping inside the self to grow more and learn more. “Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakes,” as Carl Jung has said.