Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Evaluating yourself

Going through an evaluation can be a little like going to the dentist. Deep down inside, you know it's good for you, but you also know it will probably range anywhere from painful to simply uncomfortable. The thing is, an evaluation, similar to a trip to the dentist, can set you back on the right track to health, physical health in the case of the dentist (you don't want your teeth to fall out) to career and professional health in the case of an evaluation. Of course, similar to going to a dentist who is masterful at fixing your problems with a minimum of discomfort, an evaluator/supervisor who is skilled at provided constructive and specific feedback can do wonders for helping you refocus on maintaining health.

I began thinking of this particular direction as I read The Cloud of Unknowing, and contemplation the author writes about. If a person could be more objective in their contemplation/evaluation/reflection, maybe evaluations by others wouldn't be as "enlightening." So there is a goal for the next month. Reflect on your actions and try to evaluate if they are leading you toward your goals, keeping you in the same spot, or worst of all, moving you away from them.

For an evaluation to be effective, specific feedback is necessary. This becomes true in self-reflection as well as vague feedback can lead to confusion and energy mis-directed. If you feel like feedback is not at the level you need in order to improve, continue asking clarifying questions like What does that mean? or How do I know (or How is that measured?). When the feedback becomes clear, you can make concrete plans of action to improve. This same process can be used in self-reflection. Asking yourself the same type of questions can lead to greater insight and direction. Just make sure you're willing to hear the answers that come to you. 

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