Moment of clarity: Prepare yourself now for 2023
As we enter the last month of 2022, our minds begin turning not only to upcoming festivities but also to the coming new year. What are our plans for the year ahead? Are there resolutions to be made that are important to us?
And what about our work? And yes, our annual performance reviews are scheduled and we now have to write a self-assessment on how we managed our goals for the year AND identify our goals for the next year. And then, there is the countdown of the days until my review and feedback from my boss.
In many organisations these goals are not only about easily measured business metrics but also include those related to personal and professional development. To the untrained eye, this process can be uncomfortable at best, and for some, it is even daunting and stressful.
With reflection and clarity, however, we can use this process as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, we can expand our self-awareness, which in turn allows us to better understand our strengths and our opportunities for development. We can also use it as a chance to pause, gain perspective and offer gratitude where deserved and identify key outcomes for the year ahead, which we know will make it even more successful.
According to Golden LLC, a leader in the self-assessment field: “The answers to life’s most important questions are formed, first and foremost, by having occurring self-insights”.
An in-depth personality self-assessment tool, such as the Golden Personality Profiler, “offers deep insight into one’s personality, as well as affords the ability to understand others better”, and can also provide useful additional data to support the feedback and insights received during your review process.
Consider asking your organisation if they have access to the Golden Personality Profiler (available in Bermuda from the Bermuda Clarity Institute) or to other self-assessment instruments that you can access to expand your own self-awareness and corresponding development plan.
Once you have received feedback based on your performance review and perhaps additional insights from a self-assessment tool, you have the data needed to create your personal development plan that can include both personal and professional objectives.
Five steps to prepare yourself before 2023:
1. State a clear vision of where you want to be and why. It is really helpful to think about where you want to be and what you want to do. It can be useful to think in terms of different lengths of time: for example, one month, six months, one year, five years.
It is also helpful to make your vision as detailed as possible, across all spheres of life: career, lifestyle, relationships, etc. The more detail you can include, right down to how you will feel about it, the easier it will be to hold on to your vision when times are hard.
2. Identify the specific skills you need to develop and why you need them to achieve your vision. For example:
Do you need certain skills to get a particular job or to advance in your chosen career?
Are you planning to live abroad and need to develop your language skills?
Are you struggling to manage a particular situation and need new skills to help?
Have you been told that you lack particular skills and need to develop them to work effectively with others or on your own?
It is important to make sure that the skills you are targeting are clearly linked to a purpose, which is in turn linked to your vision. Without this clarity, your personal development efforts may fail. In particular, you may not concentrate on the right skills, or be fully aware of your timescale.
3. Write it down: prepare a clear idea of the standard you need to achieve and how different that is from your current standard. The difference between where you are now and where you need to be tells you the magnitude of the task. It therefore affects how long it will take and how much effort you need to put in.
4. Prioritise each area: you can’t do everything at once. Instead, you need to prioritise. One very good way to do this is to list all your areas for development, then ask yourself two questions about each one, answering on a scale of one to five:
How important is this to me? How essential is it to develop it now?
Add together (or multiply) the scores for the two questions for each area, and you will have a much better idea of which areas to focus on first, because they are either more important, or they are more time-critical. Leave the other areas for a later date: next year, or even a few years’ time.
5. Draw up a road map: of a detailed idea of how to get from where you are now for each skills or area, to where you want to be. It sounds obvious, but you need to know how you are going to get from (a) to (b): where you are now, to where you want to be.
Just as with your vision, it can be helpful to break this down by time: in a month/six months/a year, what will you have done on the way to your ultimate goals? This makes it easier to check your progress and keep yourself on track.
As we develop our self-awareness and commit to our development goals, we may also learn to embrace the annual performance review process as a data gathering exercise. The feedback we receive becomes the data we need to continue to assess and execute both our personal and professional development plans.