Do you feel a collective sigh of relief when your Performance Evaluation process is complete? Now is the time to move forward focusing on your 2021 goals.
The positive impact goals can have on our work and personal life can be overshadowed by dread and cringe-worthy thoughts. Goals represent how we mark success and what we can possibly fail to achieve. But we have a choice. We can see goals through a lens of distress due to fear of failure, or we can invoke the power of eustress to see them as a motivator. In this article, EOD and Benefits & Employee Wellness will share tools to help flip the fear to function.
How to Reframe Your Perspective
Here are some positive steps you can implement toward achieving your professional and personal goals without the trepidation of failure. According to Edwin Locke, goal-setting theory draws on the concept that our conscious ideas guide our actions.
Generate Ideas, Create a Roadmap
Rely on brainstorming techniques to help create the ideal conditions that will support the pursuit of your goals. Locate a pen and pad of paper. Write it down.
- Brainstorm as many alternative paths to your goal as you can. Think about all the possible routes you might take to your goal, and don’t discard any of them. Record them as you go. This will help you to have specific recall.
- Pinpoint the resources. Think about what is absolutely necessary for each step along the way to your goal. List what you will need and the people who might support you.
- Plan it out. Think motivation and accountability. Apply the eustress principle to your goal pursuit process rather than outcomes. Use a planner, an app, or whatever else you find most valuable, and don’t be afraid to adapt your own path. Take charge of the plan and feel the comfort in it.
Be Prepared for Detours
- Plan B. Be honest in realizing that you are ready for situations that could arise. Lean into the hard questions such as, what might sidetrack me from pursuing one pathway and force me onto another? Do your best to avoid or overcome obstacles through proactive planning.
- Practice positive self-talk. Our self-talk is extremely powerful. To visualize achieving your goal aids in refuting negative self-talk. Perceived self-efficacy, in tandem with positive visualization, increases positive internal dialog. This dynamic duo is key to goal achievement.
- Choose resiliency. Setbacks can shake you emotionally and cause disengagement (if we let them). You can grow your capacity to deal with hindrances. Practice with resilience training exercises.
- Review your progress. Evaluation is not necessarily about success or failure, only that your priorities may have changed along the way. Be ok with adjusting your goals—make them more or less challenging, or rewrite them to fit the new path you are taking.
Aligned goals connect employees and teams
According to the American Psychological Association, when someone perceives a situation as challenging or uncontrollable, the brain initiates the release of stress responses. When we are in a state of stress, we do not use our thinking brain and can tend to be overtaken by emotions. Human bodies are not accustomed to being in a state of stress for as long as we have been during this pandemic. We need to remember this and create goals that still push us but do not set us up for failure.
Collaboration between you and your supervisor in the goal-setting process is key. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry famously wrote, “A goal without a plan is a wish.” We may want to avoid engaging in great efforts that aim at multiple directions without a clear understanding of the larger picture. A conversation with your supervisor can ensure that your own individual goals fit into the departmental and organizational goals.
- Some questions to guide your conversation with your supervisor can include:
- How does my role fit into the team vision?
- What actionable items can help us move the needle towards achieving our team vision?
- What skills do I need in my position, now and in the future, to contribute to the larger goals?
These questions might inform your understanding of your role, what is expected, and the growth opportunities that this role presents to you. Increasing feedback and conversations within the team will ensure that employees keep their goals on track and aligned with the departmental purpose and vision. A recent SHRM survey about performance evaluations during COVID-19 found that increased feedback several times a week increased engagement by 63% when working virtually.
Once we know what is expected of us, our stress can be alleviated to some degree. We also need to understand that our supervisors are agile and realize that we might not be as productive as we were before the pandemic. When faced with so many outside forces – such as home school, spouses or partners working from home, taking care of family members, and even family members losing a job – we can easily become overwhelmed and the performance evaluation is the last thing on our mind.
When priorities are clarified, then there is a path of accountability that makes it easier to feel that everyone is on the same page, that expectations are clear, and that your contributions to the team aligned with the department’s goals. Fundamentally, your well-being is inherently connected to how you feel about your goals, your performance, and work-related success.
If you have further questions or would like to discuss your personal and professional goals, contact EOD at firstname.lastname@example.org or Employee Wellness at email@example.com