Meaningful Performance Reviews: What I Learned from Managing Myself

As a self-employed solopreneur, I don’t have the traditional manager to guide or review my performance. Instead, I rely on my trusty “me-nager,” the person responsible for overseeing my work, development, and progress – yes, that’s me! In a previous post, I introduced my me-nager concept and how it plays a crucial role in my entrepreneurial journey. It’s performance review time, and this year, I’m taking a different approach to assess my accomplishments and growth.

It’s been a year since I made the bold move of leaving my corporate job to chart a new path as a solopreneur. 

My me-nager and I decided it was time to take a look back, reflect on my past experiences, and see what insights I could glean for future growth.

In the corporate world, I had participated in countless performance reviews, which often began with a rundown of accomplishments towards previously set goals. While this approach has its merits, it often felt like a box-checking exercise – goal met, goal met, goal met. But what about the growth and learning that happened along the way?

Redefining Performance Reviews

Traditional performance reviews tend to focus on areas of strength and areas for improvement, with feedback sometimes veiled as criticism. I recalled how some of my colleagues seemed to dread the “areas for improvement” section, anticipating the “bad news.” In my new performance review, I decided to ditch the criticism. After all, I’d made mistakes, learned from them in the moment, and didn’t see a need to rehash them.

I wanted to shift the focus of my performance review away from mere accomplishments and towards growth and learning. Instead of asking, “What did you accomplish in the last year?” I chose to ask myself, “What did you learn in the last year?” It may seem like a subtle shift, but it changes the whole dynamic of the review.

Learning as the New Metric

I found that focusing on learning allowed me to see my growth in a different light. It wasn’t just about checking off goals or counting successes; it was about understanding my experiences, gaining insights, and setting the stage for future growth. I recognized that learning was an essential metric for my success as a solopreneur.

By reimagining the performance review, I made space for a more meaningful conversation with my me-nager. Instead of going through the motions of a typical review, I was able to engage in a valuable exploration of my growth and how I could continue to evolve.

Your Turn

So, fellow solopreneurs and professionals, I encourage you to rethink your performance reviews. Whether you’re self-employed or part of a corporate team, consider shifting the focus from mere accomplishments to learning and growth. Explore how you can create a review process that truly serves your needs and helps you thrive in your career.

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