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Self review: Eye opening insights you never knew

Self review: Eye opening insights you never knew

When was the last time you evaluated your own performance? Are you aware if you are currently poor, average, good or exceptional at what you do? In this article, you will learn how to do a self-review of yourself with respect to your goals. You are your own manager and you are your own direct report. Doing a self-review honestly and critically is one of the most powerful ways of continuous improvement.

This article is ‘Step 2 – Self-review: Eye-opening Insights you never knew’ of the final phase: Transforming into a productive superhuman of the 3 phase transformation into superhuman productivity. You can begin right from step 1 by accessing the index here – 3 Phase Transformation into Living Your Dreams.

To understand the purpose behind the activity I recommend you to read through the article. But, for the busy bees, you can go directly to the exercise.

The useless corporate routine of self-assessment for appraisals

Self-reviews or “self-assessment”, as it is called in the corporates, is a part of the appraisal process of almost all organizations. The process involves an employee writing down what he believes his achievements were during the year. He summarizes how has his performance been through the year. The manager then rates the employee based on his observations. A discussion follows between the manager and employee to talk about any differences.

Usually, the manager already has a clear idea of what he wants to rate the employee. The self-assessment from the employee holds no value. The manager is not the only one to blame. The employee usually writes a bloated self-assessment himself with the hope that the manager will rate them one level below their self-assessment.

Leave a comment Yes, if you agree or comment No if you disagree.

In most cases, the employees have no track of their performance. It is only during the time of the appraisal do they go back to scratch their heads to find content to write about their achievements. Copying content from the self-assessment of colleagues or even off the internet is not uncommon either. This is not made up, but cases I have personally encountered.

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In general, the whole process of appraisal is flawed. The manager gives the rating based on his perspective and the employee works in his own direction.

Most organizations, managers, and employees do not understand the purpose of the appraisal system. They believe the sole purpose of the appraisal system is to determine the hike for the next year.

The real purpose of the appraisal

The primary reason for the appraisal is to help the employee grow and improve with a clear direction to work on. When organizations perform appraisals as an end of the year activity, the whole purpose of the appraisal is diluted. It becomes more of a chore and conversation of disagreements than an improvement activity.

3 Key Elements of an Effective Appraisal

Goals should be clearly defined and agreed upon:

The employee and the manager must agree on the goals set for the year. It is not necessary to define everything at a task level but the direction to focus on must be clear. The process should be similar to a client and organization agreeing upon the requirements and delivery. If the circumstances change, it is ok to modify the goals too. Putting off goal setting because a change is expected is procrastination.

The goals must be neither too easy nor too tough:

The goals must be set such that they challenge the employee to push themselves harder. Hard enough to improve and stretch their horizons. At the same time, not hard to a level where they feel the goal is too hard and give up. It needs to strike that sweet spot in between.

The progress must be discussed regularly:

The discussions about the progress on the goals should be regular. It is not a year-end activity. By constant discussions, any differences in the ratings of the manager and the employee’s self-assessment are clear well in advance.

If the appraisal process of your organization is not very effective, how do you change it?

Simple, you define an appraisal process of your own. You evaluate yourself with honesty. You are your own manager and you are your direct employee.

evaluate yourself

The process of reviewing yourself

Confused how can you rate yourself? It is quite simple. 

my self rating

You are well aware of where you want to head in life. If you do not, you must begin by setting your long term goals by answering 3 questions. You are also aware of what progress you are making towards it. For your long term goals, there is no better person to evaluate you other than yourself.

Sure, an experienced veteran in the area of your goal can guide you with useful tips and tricks. However, it is unlikely for him to know the effort you are putting towards your long term goals.

The beauty of the process is it’s simplicity. The process has no rules. You can set your own process of reviewing yourself.

Exercise to evaluate yourself

As an exercise, you are going to evaluate yourself for the performance of yourself for the goals set by yourself. You have to follow the exact same tips mentioned above for an effective appraisal. The only difference being, you perform the whole process all alone.

After you do it for the first time now, you have to do the same activity every week if the method has to be the most effective. It does not have to be a long activity. Spending 15-30 min every week is plentiful and will help drive a lot of improvement in you.

You will break down your appraisal into areas which you think are most important for you. Personally I use the following:

  1. Career/Finance
  2. Relationships
  3. Health
  4. Leisure

Based on your long term plan you can add spirituality, social, travel goals or anything you deem necessary.

Being Honest and Critical


The key area for the success of the activity is to be brutally honest about your own appraisal. Mention the things you did well and those which need improvement. Usually, you are yourself well aware of your flaws but do not want to admit them.

When you can get over your own ego to point a finger at yourself and say “You suck at this. You need to correct and improve your performance”, you will see the results for yourself.

Your own flaws are apparent and your inner voice keeps telling “you are lazy, careless, unorganized.” On the other side, your conscious self refuses to agree due to your ego. Until you admit your shortcomings, you will carry on with those flaws forever.

In the process of being critical about your flaws, do not forget to appreciate the good work you have done.

The Cycle of Learning/Self Improvement

If you are willing to do an honest review of yourself, you can go through the circle of learning. I have seen numerous circles of learning, but here is my version, which is the most simplified one.

Knowledge acquisition/experience gained:

You gain knowledge in multiple ways. You can read a book, learn from another person or learn by doing the task yourself. What you possess currently is the knowledge of doing a task. Everyone gains knowledge on a day to day basis in some shape or form without any effort. When you make a conscious effort to gain knowledge, your learning skyrockets.

Apply knowledge/experience with an intention to improve:


Any knowledge you possess but do not apply is useless. What is the point of reading a book on how to handle your short temper if you apply none of the tips mentioned in the book?

The knowledge you possess must turn into action. If you learned from an experienced colleague on how to make a better sales pitch, go ahead and try to apply the technique.

You might fear that your application might be terrible in comparison to the experienced guy. Of course, but should be bothered about looking bad? Unless you apply the knowledge yourself, you are not going to get anywhere close to getting good.

How about getting better at something you are used to? If you have been a programmer for the last 10 years, you might have been used to most routines by now. Unless you challenge yourself to do something more complex, you are stagnating your own growth. You can improve yourself by crafting and implementing a more complex algorithm, solving more complex problems that require you to acquire advanced skills.

How about a mistake you have done? Do you often repeat the mistake you made or which you observed someone else make? If you are effective at evaluating yourself for an error, you will never repeat a mistake. Yes, NEVER. That’s right.

When you make a mistake, you do not have to diminish your own value stopping you from repeating a mistake. If you do not want to repeat that mistake, identify your mistake, analyze the cause and determine what was the right thing to do. At the end of it, write it down. The mistake will be etched in your memory and you will not commit the same mistake again.

Self evaluate to identify lessons learned and experience gained(Weekly process)

Ok, so now you tried applying the new knowledge that you learned. Maybe you challenged yourself to solve a tougher problem or evaluated your mistake deep enough. Now what?

It is time to evaluate yourself for your own performance. This is the easiest and the hardest part. Easiest because you already know how you did and hardest because it takes a lot of character to admit your mistakes even to your own self.

How to review yourself for self improvement


To summarize, from now on, every week you are going to do a written evaluation of the progress of different aspects of your life.

Leave a comment on how did your self review go? Comment yes if it was helpful?

Remember, the moment you stop learning, you stop growing. It is similar to being in the same grade in school for the next 10 years. You can choose to lie to yourself and stagnate or you can brutally honest to yourself and grow.

a+ self rating

Finally, this is a never-ending circle. The journey of learning has no single endpoint as a destination.

Your honest evaluation of yourself will serve as knowledge or experience for you. This feeds back to the first step again becoming an endless circle of learning. You have to do this every week for the most effectiveness. It is essential to maintain a log of your performance, your progress, and your improvement. If you do it mentally, you will most likely lose track of all your progress.

Track it, repeat it and keep going at it. 

If you consistently work towards improving yourself by a little every single day, the amount that you change for the good over a year is paramount. 

Trust me, there will be people telling you “You are not the same anymore.” You will receive a lot of compliments on your newly improved version of yourself.

This article is ‘Step 2 – Self-review: Eye-opening Insights you never knew’ of the final phase: Transforming into a productive superhuman of the 3 phase transformation into superhuman productivity. You can begin right from step 1 by accessing the index here – 3 Phase Transformation into Living Your Dreams.

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