Personal performance discussions is one of the most energizing things, I know.
Because when you sit down to discuss your personal performance with your manager, it’s a great opportunity to reflect upon what you have learned, look inward and figure out where you want to go from here in terms of your personal development.
For a curious person such as myself that brings a ton of energy. Because I am not only curious about the world around me, ideas, technologies, trends and solving problems that affect people. I am also deeply curious about myself.
Which is why I always take these discussions very seriously.
Having said that I have found that there has always been a part missing from these development discussions or – more precisely – personal reflections:
The difference between stating an intent and asking a question.
Let me try to explain, as I think this is super important as a differentiator for your ability to truly grow both professionally and personally:
When you state an intent, you say “I will do xyz…”. You paint a picture of a desired future state.
The problem with doing that is that it’s entirely non-committal. It hinges 100% on your discipline in terms of following through on the actions you need to take to get to that desired future state.
And we all know what tends to happen with discipline towards personal or professional growth? It’s fun for a short while, we start to loose interest, and before we know it we have more or less abandoned our desire and replaced it with more of the same.
Maybe it’s a bit taken to the extreme, but I am sure, you get my point.
Now, what would happen if instead of stating an intent, you framed it like a question for yourself instead?
Instead of saying “I will do zyx…” put the question “Will I do xyz?” to yourself instead.
I think doing this accomplishes two very important things:
First of all it forces to be brutally honest about your desire for that future state, the question refers to. Because if the answer is just “No”, you have no desire to do it, and it’s not really a personal growth goal for you.
You have been lying yourself, and you’re given an opportunity to stop and come up with something that is more true to what you really desire.
Second, by asking it as a question, you address all the potential barriers to your growth target up front. You will be saying to yourself that “Yes, I will but only if this this and this don’t get in the way”.
The beauty of that is that you can then start your growth journey by addressing the very things that are keeping you back and which you already know will be at the core of why you risk losing interest.
In other words: By getting rid of the barriers to your growth, you increase your chances or success in achieving your goal by a great magnitude.
Or at least so I think.
Which is why I will be using this approach for myself going forward.
Yes, it will put me on the spot in different situations. And some of it will be beyond my comfort zone, I am sure. But honestly; isn’t that what all kinds of personal growth and development is about?
One thing is for sure: It doesn’t happen by doing nothing.