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**BEW Consulting & Training LLC is a professional development consultancy service and does not provide psychological services. BEW's scope of services do not include: psychotherapy, psychological assessment, diagnosis or treatment plans**

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Evaluate Your Performance, Not Yourself

December 19, 2018


As 2018 winds down and the holiday season is upon us, performance reviews and comp meetings are in our midst. This can be a time filled with mixed emotions- excitement over the potential for growth, but also stress about whether or not these meetings will go well. What can you do to regain a sense of control, when it feels like your work trajectory is completely in the hands of the higher ups?


1) Evaluate Your Performance, Not Yourself

You are not your work, you are not your work performance, and you are not your raise. In other words, your self-worth is not directly tied to a performance review. Many of us have the tendency to tie our identity very closely with our successes and failures at work. However, according to Dr. Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), evaluating our value and worth in this way can actually be quite detrimental. As we discussed in previous blogs ("I Failed, But I'm Not a Failure"), equating our value as a person with our work performance leads to self-sabotaging behaviors. Think about it this way: if you receive critiques during your performance review and think, “I’m a complete failure because I didn’t receive a perfect review,” you’re going to feel bummed out, potentially disregard the positive aspects of the review, and underestimate your ability to improve because you believe that you’re a failure. But just because you received negative feedback, does that mean you’re a complete and utter failure as a person? Not at all! First off, it means that you’re human, because as humans we all mess up at times. Second, yes there may have been times at work when you didn’t perform up to your boss’s standard, which isn’t great, but that’s something that can be fixed. Just because your performance wasn’t perfect 100% of the time, doesn’t mean that you’re a failure.  


2) Say Goodbye to Shoulds

One of the most challenging parts of a performance review is being reminded of all of the things you could have done differently, but you didn’t. Maybe it would have been better to spend more time on business development, or maybe you WISH that you had said yes to taking on more challenging projects. However, it’s important to recognize that no amount of demanding that things should be different is going to change the present situation. This demanding is only going to make you more upset and frustrated, because the situation isn’t going to change. Sometimes when we hear negative feedback, we may tune out whatever else the person has to say because we’re upset! As a result, we may miss out on learning how we can improve, and we may also miss out on the positive feedback. While the current situation can't be changed, you do have control over what you want to do moving forward.


3) Use Past Performance to Plan for the Future

Career success comes from progress and development. However, the path to progress and development isn’t always clear. The more upset we get about negative feedback, the less time we spend thinking about how to act on the feedback that we’ve been given. Rather than living in the past, use this new insight to carve out your future. Instead of waiting for your 2019 review to see how you did implementing your boss’s feedback, use this time to make sure that you’re fully understanding what is expected of you. We suggest starting a dialogue with your boss and developing an action plan. This may include: (1) creating a plan for remediation of skills, (2) defining tasks or behaviors to work on mastering, (3) designing a system for monitoring progress, and (4) seeking out resources to help you. You may still feel bummed out if the review didn’t go as planned (and you have every right to!), but you don’t have to let those emotions get in the way of your progress.


Career growth doesn’t come without it’s growing pains, but receiving a mediocre review or negative feedback still isn’t easy. While no amount of work can 100% guarantee the performance review you’d like, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have any control in the situation. By leveraging your mindset and being proactive with your problem solving, you can start positioning yourself now for improvements and growth in 2019.


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