Self-Evaluation: 5 Guidelines to Staying on Course

Self-evaluation is a slippery slope. Balancing between being too hard on our selves, or too easy. Sifting through outside opinions, assigning appropriate weight to others thoughts, and adding them to our own. Choosing a plan of action based on our findings.

It is important to step back every few weeks and look at our attitudes, actions, and achievements. To compare and contrast what we do with what we have set as goals in our life. When we self-evaluate, the outcome should always be either to help keep us on the path we have set for ourselves, or to aid us in determining a new path to follow.

5 Guidelines to follow:

1. Beware Harsh Judgments. Both your own and others. We are usually our own worst critics, though there are always those who occasionally try to compete. It’s easy to fall into the trap of making and believing statements that are absolute, such as “I’m a failure”, “I’m never going to get (xyz) done”, or “I’m just not good enough”. Our external critics will chime in with “You don’t have time for that”, or even “Are you crazy?” These statements are inaccurate, and usually designed to create an excuse for us to fail, or to prevent us from making others change their perception/relationship/expectations of us.

2. Beware Quick Judgments.
It’s too easy to give up too early. Our grand plan is not progressing the way we hoped, so instead of tweaking it here or there, we throw it out completely. Great accomplishments take patience, time, and more patience. Assess the parts before tossing the whole.

3. Beware Whitewashes.
If you are too afraid to take an in-depth look at your life, you’ll hit obstacles you might’ve avoided. A Pollyanna approach doesn’t lead to growth, innovation, or longevity. Make the time to truly examine your progress.

4. Give Credit Where Credit is Due.
You are likely doing quite a bit correctly within your plan. Allow yourself to blow your own horn long enough to build some confidence. Even if the victory seems small, avoid the temptation to minimize it – build upon it instead.

5. Work the Plan. Great coaches make adjustments mid-game, without tossing the plan altogether. You know your strengths, your talents, and your goals. If you need to steer around obstacles in the road, be sure your overall direction continues to point to your desired destination.

During each evaluation, keep a record of checkpoints and course-corrections. Every few months, pull them all out for review. You’ll be surprised at how the path has metamorphosed, and likely surprised at how far you’ve actually traveled. Self-evaluations should be private, but be open to seeking outside help when facing a tough decision. Be sure to evaluate the source and the surroundings before taking their advice – in the end it is your own career/life on the line.

By keeping yourself grounded and alert, maintaining a realistic view while embracing your accomplishments, and working your plan, you will maintain a steady course to wherever you decide to go.

Rich Hopkins is a speaker, author and coach who teaches his clients to Leap from Acceptable to Exceptional. He has 20 years of business background in marketing, sales, and customer service. He consults with individuals, student groups, non-profit organizations, and corporations. Rich is available for keynote presentations, seminars, training, as well as group or one-to-one coaching. Contact him at:


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