Giving an Honest Self-Evaluation

Recently, I posted about my mid-year self-evaluation on Twitter.

I have to admit, I was surprised by how much traction it got in the threads and DMs. There was a lot of commiseration, but I also saw a lot of questions. What is a self-evaluation? How do you do it? What are you evaluating?

I don’t think there’s any right or wrong answer, but let me tell you how I do it.

Where to begin

For me, as a small business owner, it starts as a review of where my numbers are vs. projections, and why. I knew that this year I would have less time for revenue projects because I was deeply involved in STC, both as a board member and a featured expert for the Roundtable program.

But of course, the analysis leads to more questions. This is a big one for me: if my volunteer work is taking time from my revenue work, is it worthwhile? Is it satisfying? Does it provide me with growth opportunities or intangibles that I can’t get elsewhere? So far, that answer has been yes. However, it’s important to re-evaluate that position, particularly as I’m in the final year of my current term on the Board of Directors.

The quality of work

From there, it’s a look at all of my work. What has been most satisfying this year? Least satisfying? All things being equal, what would I like to do more or less of?

I can then compare that to what I see on the horizon. What opportunities are ahead? Will they bring satisfaction? Growth? Challenge? Purpose? What will spark joy or creativity?

This is much harder than it sounds.

The volume of work

Next, I look at size. How big is the project? Every project or role — revenue-generating or volunteer — requires a time commitment. Are the prospective opportunities schedule-sustainable with my other projects? With my life and my family?

Particularly for those with massive time commitments, how aligned are my goals with the needs of that project? Will I be able to move things forward in a way that satisfies both them and me, or will I feel like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill again and again?

Eliminate “should”

Sometimes when I do this, I find that it’s to keep rolling with the status quo. There’s nothing wrong with being ok with where you are! But sometimes, the answers are more nebulous. I find myself doing a lot of “I should…” because of a variety of expectations; that’s when I realize that my “shoulds” don’t necessarily sync with my “wants;” my goal is to focus on what I want, and not on what I should.

If this exercise makes anything clear, it’s that just because I can do X or Y or Z doesn’t always mean that it’s the right choice for my business or my life.

Moving ahead

How do you decide what projects to take on, either personally or professionally? What are your evaluation criteria?

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