“Don’t ever confuse your life and your work. The second is only part of the first.” ~ Anna Quindlen
I don’t know about you, but I am not a big fan of the annual performance review.
Every Spring at companies around the globe, including the company that I work for currently, work from the past 12-14 months is complied, analyzed and formulated into a number that dictates a merit based pay adjustment for the following year.
Accomplishments are acknowledged, and opportunities for growth are identified. Depending on the outcome, it can be stressful, status quo, or the best half hour of the year. The review process is a huge part of modern business culture and one that is probably not going to change anytime in the near future.
The question that comes to my mind today is this: How can we take the score from the previous 12-14 months, and keep it from dictating how we feel about our worth?
The whole process is innocent enough, perhaps. Some people take their score and use the nature of competition to strive for a better one next year. Some feel proud of their performance and work to keep it that way. Some feel disappointed. Some feel angry and unsure why things came out the way they did after a year of what felt like honest and dedicated work.
I think I can claim feeling all of those things at some point over the years. But at the end of the day, regardless of the outcome, for me, and probably for a fair many of others out there in the modern workforce, it will get under my skin and influence how I feel about myself.
We humans have a tendency to let external situations seep into our internal sense of self. I struggle with this daily, and I am guessing that I’m not alone.
I think this is important to recognize for many reasons. It is important because as compassionate members of the planetary family, we are called to notice and verbalize the strengths of every individual with whom we interact, and I find it’s hard to do if I don’t feel good about myself after letting a disappointing review or evaluation color my day. It’s hard to do that if I feel like I have worked incessantly to maintain a stellar performance and am feeling burnt out after pushing so hard for so long. It’s hard to do that when I feel separate—for better or for worse—from those who I see every day and when I compare my performance with someone else. It’s hard to do that if I let judgment take the place of mindfulness and self-awareness. And it’s hard to do that if I feel guilty for feeling unsatisfied: Because at the end of the day, I have it pretty good compared to millions of others on the planet.
So when I feel myself starting to let a review of my work—on any scale—color my sense of self, for better or for worse, I try to remember that I get to choose how to respond in every situation that comes up in my life. I have the capacity to view whatever happens at work, or at home, or in the spaces between through a lens of abundance, rather than one of scarcity or lack.
“There are thousands of people out there with the same knowledge you have; when you have a job, there will be thousands of people doing what you do for a living. But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.” ~ Anna Quindlen
May the season of annual reviews—however it might look in your world—be simply another opportunity to remember what is important and to embrace the fullness that is possible when you remember that you are valuable beyond measure.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Heidi Barr
Apprentice Editor: Megan Ridge Morris/ Editor: Travis May
Photo: Video Still