Assessments have become quite popular. Most of us have engaged in some kind of an assessment, whether it's a requirement for work or because it's a popular craze that everyone's doing. From Enneagram and Myers Briggs to DISC and 16 Personalities, people love to share and compare their results.
Results can be fascinating and fun, inspiring people to walk away from analyzing assessment results with the best of intentions: I'm going to do _____ better or be better at _____. I'm not sure of the exact statistics, but I'd guess more than half of us forget about the results, forget about our intentions, and in a matter of weeks or even days end up doing things the same ole way (regardless of whatever stress we may endure). Unless you're holding your intentions top of mind on a regular basis, the assessment was just a fun activity that now gives you permission to say "Oh, I've done that. I'm an INFP."
Results can also be a harsh reality check that can hold you back. Here's what I mean...
The definition of assessment is: the evaluation or estimation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone or something. Notice the word estimation. Yes, that's right- an assessment is not fact, not 100% truth, not something set in stone, not permanent. This is an important distinction to keep in mind when analyzing the results of any evaluation. Formal assessments are based on loads of research conducted on real people over long periods of time, so it's no surprise the findings can be pretty true to form. The challenge is, some individuals read the results and immediately make harsh judgments about WHO they are, WHAT they are/are not accomplishing and HOW they are going about getting things done.
Only one fact exists when it comes to formal assessments- they are not 100% accurate for 100% of the participants. Even the assessors will tell you this, but some people fall into the trap of rigidly identifying with the bad/ugly characteristics and forget to give themselves a little grace. I'm not saying assessments are good or bad or anywhere in between. They are what they are- an interesting way of evaluating oneself with the intended purpose of improving life in some way.
Whether you find the results fascinating or harsh, your newfound awareness has the potential to serve a powerful purpose- to ignite positive change.
If you value making forward progress towards your big picture dreams and value learning more about yourself along the way, I'd like to broaden your perspective to a more empowering way to glean valuable insights about yourself. Follow along and I'll share the WHAT, WHEN, HOW and WHY you need to know to create an assessment of your own design- a Reflective Practice.
A Reflective Practice (RP for short b/c I LOVE acronyms) is a way of evaluating your being and doing in the world. Set aside time on a regular basis to review your actions and your re-actions, your choices and behaviors, your goals and desires, your thoughts and beliefs (and whatever else you find valuable to evaluate about yourself).
The short answer- on a regular basis. The longer answer- any time you experience contrast out in the world, you can find value in exploring your relationship to that contrast and potential lessons to be learned.
Depending on how much time you can/want to invest in a RP (personally and/or professionally), you can reflect yearly, quarterly, monthly or even daily. Consider what you can COMMIT to doing on a regular basis, because it's the consistent engagement that will yield long-term sustainable change. If having 1 hour of sacred time every Saturday morning is do-able, great. If you prefer 15 minutes every morning before your household awakes, try it. A weekly 60min. meeting can work wonders for getting your work Team rowing in the same direction.
Personally, I invest 15-45min every morning in my personal RP, about 1-2hrs in a quarterly review and 2-3hrs in a yearly review.
Professionally at Branching Out Events, I invest 120min per week in weekly team meetings, 2hrs per month in a monthly Leadership Team meeting, 3hrs per quarter in a quarterly Leadership Team meeting and 4hrs per year in a yearly Leadership Team meeting- all of which I consider a RP (see below in HOW).
The beauty of creating your own RP to evaluate and assess is...it's YOURS to create. While the options are unlimited, most find value in expressing gratitude, celebrating wins, reviewing losses, cross-checking goals and clarifying intentions.
Personally, my morning RP involves journaling about:
Over the years, I've used the time to play around with writing poetry, reciting mantras, meditating and even spending 10min writing whatever comes to mind (a concept called Morning Pages, which I learned about in a book called "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron). If I felt pulled towards doing the extra "stuff," I became energized and more connected to myself as a result; which typically led to a greater chance of holding onto that good feeling throughout the day, too
Professionally, our RPs are meetings with an agenda. We start every meeting connecting on a personal level with an update. Much like my personal RP, we:
In our longer meetings, we analyze our Scorecard numbers and spend more time on discussing issues and creating solutions, because business runs smoother with fewer issues.
One last note about HOW to implement a RP: be sure to ASSESS yourself/your Team, not judge. This is a important distinction. Assessing allows you to step outside yourself as an observer of your own behavior and evaluate your way of being and doing without forming an opinion. When you can see your way of being and doing for what it is, you can remain objective, think clearly and make positive, productive decisions. Alternatively, judging is grounded in bias and opinion, which results in being subjective, drawn into drama and making decisions based on emotion. (which is not productive)
We're all busy doing, doing, doing. You may be moving forward but getting nowhere (aka. spinning your wheels).
A Reflective Practice allows you to take time, slow down and assess your way of being in relation to your doing. When you make time for a RP, you reflect, review and align your thoughts, choices and decisions with your bigger intentions (goals, values, purpose). If you're feeling wonky, in a rut or just downright overwhelmed, you're most likely out of alignment. Reflecting helps you claim your issues, identify the obstacles, outline a strategy to move forward and re-align with where and WHO you want to be.
Unlike a formal assessment, YOU get to define your own, unique measures for your nature, quality and ability. In your RP, the results are 100% accurate, created to support you being a better version of you.
However you choose, engaging in a regular Reflective Practice is like nurturing seeds of change rooted in wholeheartedly believing that how YOU SEE YOU and YOU BE YOU is all that matters. As you grow more and more grounded in WHO you are and WHO you are becoming, you will reap the rewards of a Reflective Practice- positive, long-lasting, sustainable change, which ultimately leads to a more satisfying and fulfilling life.
THIS is why the reward is in the review!
I'll share information that may be a good reminder (the stuff you already know) or just may blow your mind (the new, perspective-shifting, really valuable stuff).
I'll also share updates and launches on my newest programs and workshops, so you'll want to be first to know!
I look forward to helping you GROW!