I realized this week that as I begin to create this next chapter, that at every crossroad, there are important questions to ask ourselves, and at every crossroad we reach, the questions change. However, the thing that must remain the same is our commitment to seeking a clear vision for what we want our lives and careers to look like.
Whether it is when we find ourselves seeking our next professional challenge, or entering a new stage of life, asking the right questions is where we will get clarity around what we will choose to do about it.
But before we can even begin to ask the right questions, there is one thing we must find the time to do; and that is a thorough, honest and comprehensive assessment of where we are.
Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to do this for myself, and it has been life changing.
I believe in personal leadership for professional success; and mastering leading your life instead of it dragging you along for the ride. So, I decided that given my own new crossroad, it was time to evaluate where I am, where I want to be and how I am going to get there.
To create what we want, it is necessary to carve out time during the year to review our lives and look at how we are doing in accomplishing our goals.
Consider it your personal performance management process.
If you work, you most likely participate in an annual performance management process. The U.S. Department of Commerce defines the performance management process as “one that is used to communicate organizational goals and objectives, reinforce individual accountability for meeting those goals, and track and evaluate individual and organizational performance results. It reflects a partnership in which managers share responsibility for developing their employees in such a way that enables employees to make contributions to the organization. It is a clearly defined process for managing people that will result in success for both the individual and the organization.”
In your life, you are the manager and the employee. You are called upon to both do the high level visioning, goal setting and planning, as well as taking strategic and tactical action to make it all happen. You are an executive and the line staff; the visionary and producer.
So, aren’t you worth the growth, expansion and internal mentorship that are also a privilege of having a job?
I say yes.
You don’t need to have a job or business to gain the benefit of a “performance management review process”….you can do all on your own. Here are six steps to effective performance management and how you can use them to get the life and career you really want (taken from Workinfo.com):
- Commitment from the top
In a corporate environment, this would mean that the Executive Team of the business is committed to the performance management process. In your own personal life, you are the executive team and all of the employees; so, it is important that you embrace the value of and the process for assessing your own life; and commit to it in the same way that you would if you were in a job setting.
- Clear Objectives
Employees will always feel ownership over objectives that they have a part in creating; and when they see how they can influence the outcome. As you look to create “resolutions” (although I am not a fan of these) and desired outcomes in your life, in other words the vision of what you want to do, be and create, make sure that they are clear, measurable, and have an urgency or time frame around when you wish to achieve them.
- Balanced Feedback
It is critical to get feedback along the journey that addresses issues as they arise, not wait until the learning opportunity has passed. As you move along in your life, it is important to use your experiences, good and bad, as opportunities to learn, grow and expand. You can do this on your own through truthful self-awareness, or you can engage good friends, a coach or a mentor to help you identify areas that need your attention and action that you may want to take to move you closer to your goals.
- Regular Progress Reviews
It is also critical that your “performance” be reviewed, formally and seriously, over the course of the year and not wait until the end of the year to do a full year performance review. Increasingly, research suggests that quarterly reviews take place as part of the performance management process. As you move forward towards creating the life and career you desire, consider taking time, perhaps quarterly or when you find yourself in a moment of overwhelm or fear, to give yourself an opportunity to review, and assess, where you are going and how you are doing in getting there.
- Development Plans
According to this same report, effective performance management should include development plans that address:
- Shortfalls in performance
- Plans to equip employees with the skills to complete their objectives effectively
- Long term development goals
Your personal life, love and career should include the same. It is up to you to identify where you are not showing up in a way that will get you what you want, create a plan to give yourself the support, tools and resources to move closer to doing so, and consistently shift, expand and support your long term goals and desires.
Effective development plans are a collaborative effort between managers and employees and therefore your visionary and producer will have to work together to successfully move you to where you want to be.
- Capable Managers (with the right skills)
It has been said that people leave managers and not companies. and research indicate that it’s the statistical truth.
There was a time when I did not have the skills and resources to move myself forward towards what I truly wanted; and it took an investment in my own personal development so that I would know exactly how to build my resilience toolbox. I have since done so and now focus my business on teaching this toolbox and supporting women to use it to become who they are meant to be in all areas of their lives.
If you don’t feel that you have the foundation of skills and resources to support yourself along this turbulent but magnificent journey that is your life, this is your time to commit to investing in building it.
You don’t need a job to give yourself this gift.
And I am here to support you every step of the way.