This is your friendly reminder that it’s time to do your “You-Review.” That’s right. Don’t stop reading and don’t turn away. This is for your own good and I promise it will be well worth your time.
What is a You-Review? It’s setting aside at least one hour of uninterrupted time (three to four times a year), without your digital distraction devices, to do an intentional and in-depth self-evaluation of where you are in your life. The more serious you are, the longer the review may take. It’s the ultimate personal accountability session with the individual who stares back at you from the mirror.
Personal accountability. It seems to be in short supply in many places these days. As individuals we sometimes don’t like to admit when we are wrong or when we fall short of reaching our goals and living up to our own expectations. Too often we rely on others or just let circumstances dictate how our lives play out. Even worse, we often play the victim role and blame others or circumstances when we simply don’t do what we said we would do in the first place.
Why should you take the time to do a You-Review? Because feedback is a blessing and who better to give you a frank, candid self-assessment of your life than you! At work most of us get annual, semi-annual, quarterly or even monthly evaluations, depending on the occupation. In your K-12 school years you received a report card four times during the academic calendar, so you had a measure of where you stood. So why not a You-Review to hold yourself accountable?
This may not be easy for some of you but it’s for your own good. You must hold yourself accountable and do a deep dive into whether you are living your best life, accomplishing your goals and working toward making your dreams come true. This can, and will, change your life for the better if you get into the habit of doing an honest, detailed, periodic self-assessment.
Have you ever truly given intentional thought to designing a life that you want to live? Have you ever put those thoughts in writing so there is a better chance of living that ideal life? Of course, we have to allow for unforeseen circumstances and challenges that come our way and be ready to adjust or pivot if necessary. But you need to give serious and deliberate thought to what it is you want out of life first. You also have to allow for the “law of serendipity,” a.k.a. “being in the right place at the right time,” and take advantage of the good fortune that often comes your way. As inventor Louis Pasteur said many years ago, “Luck favors the prepared.” My old hockey coach used to say, “The harder you work, the luckier you’ll get!”
In order for a You-Review to really pay dividends, you may have to go back a few steps to make sure you have your values, vision and goals in writing in the first place. You must put these things in writing so there is immediate and accurate recall of your roadmap to personal and professional success. In my book “The Power of Pragmatic Passion,” the entire first chapter is devoted to helping you identify what really matters to you and what you really want from life. It includes exercises like identifying your list of core values, creating a personal vision statement, and putting your goals in writing. You need to have some idea of how you define success in your life before it makes sense to do a You-Review.
Find your “Ready-Room”
You must identify a totally quiet “ready-room”, free from any digital distractions (TV, computer, cellphone, etc.), where you know you won’t be interrupted. When you are ready to sit down to begin, take out your core values list, your personal vision statement and your written goals sheet and keep them handy as a guide during your review. Your You-Review is, in essence, a time to assess if you are being guided by your core values, staying true to your personal vision statement and focusing on achieving the goals you have written for your personal and professional lives.
Now comes the “keep it real” part. Once you sit down with a notepad to record your thoughts, you must ask yourself very specific questions and answer them with 100% sincerity or you will be wasting your time.
Here are some questions you should consider asking yourself during your You-Review that utilize my 7 Pragmatic Passion Principles:
Purpose: Does it support my values, passions, and purpose?
Attitude: Will I have the proper attitude to commit to my goals and act on my purpose?
Sacrifice: Am I willing to make the sacrifices to persist and persevere along the way?
Servant Leadership: Does it serve others first and align with my servant leadership philosophy?
Inspiration: Will I be inspired to pursue my purpose with passion to “Get It Done”?
Options: Will I devote the necessary time to develop good options, so I make informed choices?
Nurture: Will it nurture me so I may live a joyful, fulfilling, passionate and purposeful life?
Note that the first letters of the 7 principles spell out the word “passion.” Look at the life you want to live through a Pragmatic Passion lens. Apply the 7 Pragmatic Passion Principles as often as possible to all parts of your personal and professional life. It will help lead you toward achieving both personal and professional success (as you define them, of course!) and to live a joyful, fulfilling, passionate and purposeful life.
It also helps to have a positive attitude when doing your You-Review. I hope you don’t wake up in the morning and say, “What can I do to be average today?” Instead I hope you get up, look in the mirror and say, “It’s me and you against the world — when do we attack?” Doing a You-Review will be enlightening and so beneficial to you if you take the time to do it right.
By the way, you don’t have to go through the entire self-assessment process alone. I encourage you to have an accountability partner that you share your You-Review results with, in the form of a mentor or coach. Have you ever thought about why we are so receptive to having teachers, trainers and coaches throughout our formative years and as soon as we turn 18, or 21 if you go to college, we suddenly think we don’t need instruction, training or coaching in our lives? Life is tough enough. It’s even harder to go through it alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance from those you trust and professionals who can help you live a successful life.
On a personal note, I get very frustrated sometimes when we throw tons of money after the fact at issues like the opioid crisis and mental health issues. I believe we should attack as many of these issues proactively as possible by helping people, especially young people, to develop the skills and confidence necessary for success. That includes helping them to identify core values, creating a personal vision statement, and learning how to set goals.
We need personal responsibility and accountability in our lives. We need to do self-assessments and be honest with ourselves. It’s time for your You-Review. Get It Done!