Managing Your Gift: Self-Evaluation

This kicks off a series on “Managing Your Gift”, which is just a few life lessons I have learned the past month or so that I am trying to implement in my life. This is based on my belief that my biggest problem is not my lack of talent but my inability to manage my talent. As a steward of my gift, I want to use it to the best of my ability.

I used to think that evaluations were crazy. First of all, I hated evaluations, because they kept telling me, “You’re an idiot.” (Hey, I’m still learning how to accept negative feedback!) I came around, however, when I realized that I had a problem. I found myself struggling to maintain my focus in life. It seemed that I was constantly fighting fires. I had a project at work that I needed to focus on, and because of that, I neglected my social life. I started working on my social life, and I lost out on sleep, and work suffered. The list goes on! I realized that if I examined my life every week, I could make small tweaks to my life to keep me closer on track.

I had a second frustration. I found some of my tasks very frustrating because I wasn’t sure if I was doing well, doing okay, or doing a very lousy job. However, I had falsely assumed that I needed to wait for someone else to help me clarify this. It took a simple comment by Daniel Pink to spur me into action. “If you’re working at a place where your performance isn’t evaluated, do it yourself.” That very night I went back to the office to reference some other evaluations so that I could make one for myself. This one included not just my job, but all of life.

I began by breaking down my life in big sections:

  • Job Responsibilities
  • Church Responsibilities
  • Personal Projects

In each section, I added categories for each of the main projects that needed my attention. I also added some additional categories to evaluate my personal life:

  • Spiritual journey (Bible reading, private prayer and worship, input)
  • Personal recreation/rejuvenation (including level of rest)
  • Finance (responsibility and generosity)

First, I created a weekly review. This sheet was very informal. It just had a bunch of spaces, one for each category, to write done one or two sentences summarizing the previous week. This sheet proved to be very helpful in summarizing the highs/lows and successes/failures of the prior week. If there were specific aspects that needed my attention, I could easily tweak things the following week to improve upon it.

I also created a more formal monthly evaluation, covering each category in more specific detail. Each category had specific items to evaluate, rated from 1-10:

  • 0-3: Unacceptable
  • 4-5: Marginal
  • 6-7: Expected
  • 8-9: Superior
  • 10: Exceptional

While the weekly reviewed gave an overall picture, this sheet gave hard numbers to indicate how well I was doing and what areas needed my specific attention. Of course, the weekly review sheets were a very helpful resource to look back on to review the past month.

It’s as simple as that. It takes less than 30 minutes a week, and even in two short  months, it’s given me a lot of clarity in my life.

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