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Annual Review

Annual Review

The carefully circled letters reveal the thought put into the markings: A  B  C  D  F.  The feedback being noted is a gift for the recipient.  The steady handwriting with words of positive performance over the past year and notes for focus in the year ahead show care in the critique. Every year my team members fill out peer reviews of their colleagues.  They evaluate areas of client care, team support, and the demonstration of core values.  I meet with everyone individually and, with the help of the peer evaluations, we discuss the whole picture.  We see blind spots and evidence of brilliant performance. We see the front, back, inside, and out. We do what our coach has long taught us: look, see, tell the truth, take authentic action.

This annual practice reminds me to do my own annual review.  To grade myself for the following life categories: Finances, Spirituality/Creativity, Career/Education, Enjoyment, Health/Wellness, Relationships. I place a truthful 1 up to a 10 in each area and see if there is balance (no) and if there are areas that need focus (yes). If I can control my wince when my best friend predictably points out that I should date more, then I will ask her what she sees about my “wholeness.” She helps me look from the outside, in.

The year leading up to my divorce filing my numbers would have looked like this:

Finances (2),

Spirituality/Creativity (0)

Career/Education (8)

Enjoyment (0 in all things except when I was parenting my girls)

Health/Wellness (0)

Relationships (0)

It was a wake-up call.

The year during my divorce was worse. Solid 0’s to 1’s across the board.

The year after my divorce a gradual uptick began. Twelve months post-divorce I was paying down debt and contributing again to my daughter’s college accounts (finances up to 5). I was taking a sewing class and writing more than I ever had (spirituality/creativity up to 7). My firm realized record-breaking numbers and my litigation skills and compensation increased (career up to 8).

That year I took monthly “joy journeys” with the aim of increasing my enjoyment. I sat in a blind awe of the Nebraska sandhill cranes, I enjoyed the tulip festival in Pella, Iowa, and I had goosebumps in the axe-murder house of Villisca, Iowa (enjoyment up to 10). I did the couch to 5k and was about to start running in earnest toward a half-marathon (health wellness up to 10). I refocused on the relationships that mattered most to me. I spent lots of time with friends, new and old. I happened to fall in love again in that season for a time. (Relationships up to 10).

The numbers have no doubt fluctuated over the years since. However, I keep doing my annual review.  In a glance I can see what needs my best energy and focus and which parts I can place on cruise control. My annual review shows me the big picture and informs the easy and hard decisions I need to make. For that I have earned an A+.

Angela Dunne

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