Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Review

I don't like performance reviews. I've never gotten a bad one but still, I always hope that somehow the boss will get overwhelmed with other things to do and forget that it's time for "the review". Something about having my abilities and my shortcomings analyzed and measured makes me want to schedule my vacation during that time of year. Part of "the review" involves setting goals. To me, it always feels intrusive to sit down with the boss and collaboratively determine what I need to improve and accomplish. What if I fail at completing the goals "we" set?? Admittedly, when I get to make my own goals at work, I always come up with things that I know I will be able to ace without much effort, preferably within the first month or so after setting them. I know, that's super lame, but since I have more flight than fight in me, I really do hate "the review". The job I currently have is by far, the best job I've ever had in all my life AND the big bonus is that my company doesn't do performance reviews at all. I haven't had a formal review in over 2 years. My stress level is much better for it. 

So, I don't know what came over me a few years ago when I got all gung-ho about making personal goals. Surprisingly, I have stuck with my annual plan of making personal goals and it has turned out to be a great strategy to make sure I'm not just wasting my life drifting. About 5 years ago, I made list of things that I wanted to do in my lifetime and kept it on the nightstand next to my bed.  Amidst moving cross-country I misplaced it and still haven't been able to find it. It's probably in one of the boxes in my storage closet. I had to start a new list. Doing the yearly goal thing is a way of making an incremental dent in the list. 

In 2006, I had just 1 goal: To run a marathon. 
It was something I had dreamt about for 3 years but always felt like it was a gigantic impossibility for a girl who runs an 11 minute mile at her best. Then, I had an epiphany. "If P. Diddy can do it, so can I". I committed to it, and in October of 2006, I finished my first and only 26.2 mile race.  

In 2007, I set 3 goals: 1.) Take a writing class. 2.) Get my own place. 3.) Take a cruise. 
Again, all were things that I desired but seemed too far out of reach for many reasons. My fear, my finances and my abilities stood in the way. My thought was if I could at least get closer to these things in one year - even if it took longer to actually attain them, maybe I would eventually get there. 
In Jan. 2007, I signed up for a 6-week writing course in NYC. Starting the year with 2 loves of my life - New York and writing - made me a happy girl. 
In Apr. 2007, I bought my first home - a condo that is a perfect match for me in the exact area I wanted. 
To finish '07 I went on a cruise with some friends to Cozumel, Mexico in November. 
All 3 goals checked off my list in one amazing year. Far beyond what I thought was possible. 

In 2008, I was a slacker. I was fairly content and didn't feel like there was anything jumping up and down to be accomplished. I took a few trips to satisfy my ever-constant gnawing to travel but nothing that could be classified as being on the master list. It turned out to be a good thing that I didn't go crazy with the big goals in '08 because there was plenty of twisty stuff I didn't foresee that zapped my energy for pursuing major lifetime ambitions. A year of readjusting is ok. 

A few weeks ago I started thinking about the 2009 portfolio of goals. Again, I'm looking at stuff that, on January 7th, looks bigger than one year will be able to hold.
1.) Travel internationally twice. 2.) Make progress on writing a book. 3.) Cultivate a new circle of relationships. 

The thing about goals is that they help determine the in-between times. They drive us through the mundane parts of life. When I have goals that I'm excited about, I'm always asking myself if what I'm doing or investing myself in is taking me closer to accomplishing them or not. It's easier to put up with the routine, boring or less than desirable circumstances if I can see that they are just stepping stones on the path toward a bigger passion. The undesirable things are carrying me to the places of my desires. 

I had to live in my parents' basement to save money so I could move to the east coast when the time was right. Everyday I was reminded that I was far from where I wanted to be. 
I had to train everyday for 10 months, sometimes running on a treadmill for 4 hours at one time so I would be able to feel the accomplishment of completing the Marine Corps Marathon. Do you know how loathsome it is to run on a treadmill in a gym for 4 hours straight?
I had to rent a room from an 80 year old lady, that was furnished in the 50's, for a year so that when the door flew open to purchase my own place, I was ready to walk through it. 

Ready or not, I'm rollin' with some big plans in '09.

1 comment:

Becky said...

This is amazing! Truly insipring. I need to set some goals for 2009 too. This is a strong reminder to me of how goal oriented I am, and without a 'goal' in mind. I get very frustrated. I have no idea when I've 'arrived' or if I ever did.
Love it!! Thank you!