This past week I had the “opportunity” to sit down with my boss for an hour and a half to undergo my mid-year check-in (a.k.a., performance evaluation). Honestly, I actually enjoyed this, but no matter how many times I’ve been through these, I still get a knot in my stomach the morning of the check-in as my mind runs through all of the critical things he could say. Why is it that my mind never considers the positive things he could say? Alas, it’s over and I survived.
I’m not sure why check-ins bother me. The pessimistic side of me says that maybe it’s the fear of rejection or coming to grips with the fact that I did something wrong. But, the reality is that personal and spiritual evaluation is really important.
When we embrace self-evaluation and evaluation prompted by others, we allow ourselves to more clearly see who we are in relation to God. My faith in Christ is a result of taking a close look at my life (evaluation) and realizing that I can never measure up to God’s standard of holiness except through Jesus Christ. It was through spiritual evaluation that I received the feedback I needed in order to make a spiritual change, which was faith in Christ.
Whether the evaluation is personal or spiritual, self-directed or prompted by others, the purpose of evaluation is to receive feedback on performed tasks and make changes based on that information. Evaluation comes in many different forms. Some forms of evaluation take hours, even days, while other forms require only a few minutes in the quietness of one’s own heart. Regardless of the form, if you want to change your life, some sort of evaluation is necessary. To encourage you in your self-evaluation, below are three questions to ask yourself regularly. The key is to not only ask and answer them, but to do something about them…take action.
- What is the one thing that I’m supposed to be doing, and am I doing it?
Sometimes I find that I’m doing too many things and none of them are the right things that I’m supposed to be doing. I’m learning to ask myself what I’m supposed to be doing, but the follow-up question is the action step. Am I doing it? My life changes when I know what I’m supposed to be doing and make adjustments to do that thing.
- Who do I need to talk to in order to move beyond my present situation?
The changes I’ve made in my life have always seemed to be as a result of talking to the right person. Every re-direction in my life has a person standing at the intersection — my wife, a close friend, a pastor, a teacher, a mentor. I think this is why community is so important. When you invite people into your life, they can speak into your situation, giving you advice when you need to make a change.
- Why am I doing the same thing(s) that I’ve always done, and how can I change that?
Here’s a well-known statement, but it fits well here: Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been in that spot. You’re stuck. What I’ve found in those moments is that even though I knew what I needed to do to change, I lacked courage to do anything about it. The result was that the fear forced me to be comfortable with the insanity, even though I knew I was doing the same things I’ve always done. To break that cycle, I’ve had to identify the reason I’m still doing that thing. Once I put a stake in the reason, then I’m able to make plans to change that.
If you want to change your life, you need to spend some time evaluating it. Reject the pessimistic side of yourself that tells you it’s going to hurt. Embrace the fact that evaluation will change you for the better. When you persevere through the trials, your character grows.