Granted, I suffer from terminal earnestness, but I actually derive much benefit and satisfaction from the performance appraisal process. I think most anyone has the potential to benefit from setting and achieving goals. As the old axiom says, “If you aim at nothing, that’s what you’ll hit.”
In my group, we are given the opportunity to create an objective centered around one soft skill of our choice, an area where we want to improve in some way. For my skill, I chose “Self-confidence”. In choosing this, and it’s very much a goal of mine, I defined it in a way that is perhaps a little different than usual. After almost 30 years in my profession, I have total confidence in my technical abilities to do my job. No, the self-confidence I mean is a little more nuanced perhaps and not easy for me to attain. It’s a hard soft skill!
For me, self-confidence is an underlying belief that I don’t have to try to engineer things to go my way. It’s the knowledge that I am competing with no one, other than perhaps with myself to be the best version of myself. This would manifest itself in the following ways:
- Don’t feel I have to get the last word in.
- Don’t self-censor my contributions to discussions for fear that my offering will not be greeted warmly.
- Praise others even when it may feel that I’m diminishing my own abilities. (It’s really not in the least. In fact, studies show that people unconsciously ascribe to you attributes that you recognize in others.)
- Act without being overly concerned about how it will be judged.
- Accept feedback and criticism without discouragement.
- Above all, don’t take things personally. Most of the time, it’s not about me and when it is, I’ll need to figure that out and internalize it independently.
These are all worthy goals. And the paradoxical thing about self-confidence is that in becoming self-confident, you end up giving more than you take.