“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” – Epictetus
Are you on track? That depends on what you want to accomplish, what experiences you want to create, and what you’re optimizing for. The trick is to figure out a set of questions that help you check your performance in a way that woks for you. A proven practice is to use questions that help you reflect on where you are vs. where you want to be. Questions are effective because they direct your attention and they help you add clarity and focus.
To get you started, I pulled together a set of examples you can use to check your performance. Some of these may work better for you than others.
Checking Whether You’re On Track at Work
Here is a set of questions one of my mentees uses to check whether they’re on track at work:
- Do I have autonomy?
- Do I have interesting challenges?
- Do I see a clear relationship between my effort and reward?
- Do I work with people I like?
Life Frame for Checking Whether You’re on Track
Rate each of these on a scale of 1-10:
For more information on this approach, see the Life Frame.
Improvement Frame for Checking Whether You’re on Track
By asking questions in the following buckets, you can find areas that need work or find sticking points:
- Thinking / Feeling
- Time / Task Management
- Domain Knowledge
- Strategies / Approaches
For example questions, see the Improvement Frame.
Steve Pavlina on Checking Whether You’re On Track
Rate each of these on a scale of 1-10:
- Home & Family
- Physical Health
- Fun & Adventure
For more on this approach, see Work from Your Strengths. Train Up Your Weaknesses (Steve Pavlina.com)
Michael Watkins on Checking Whether You’re On Track
In his book, The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All LevelsLeadership Books) , Michael Watkins suggests diagnosing yourself against the following core challenges when you start a new job:
- Promote Yourself – Are you adopting the right mind-set for your new job and letting go of the past?
- Accelerate your learning – Are you figuring out what you need to learn, from whom to learn it, and how to speed up the learning process?
- Match strategy to situation – Are you diagnosing the type of transition you are facing and the implications for what to do and what not to do?
- Secure early wins – Are you focusing on the vital priorities that advance long-term goals and build short-term momentum?
- Negotiate success – Are you building you relationships with your new boss, managing expectations, and marshaling the resources you need?
- Achieve alignment – Are you identifying and fixing frustrating misalignments of strategy, structure, systems, and skills?
- Build your team – Are you assessing, restructuring, and aligning your team to leverage what you are trying to accomplish?
- Create coalitions – Are you building a base of internal and external support for your initiatives so you are not pushing rocks uphill?
Michael Watkins on Checking Your Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy is your belief about your ability to influence events that affect your life. Your self-efficacy beliefs determine how you think, feel, motivate yourself, and behave. In The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, Michael Watkins shares ways to build your foundation for self-efficacy.
Pillar 1: Adopting Success Strategies
- Promote yourself.
- Accelerate your learning.
- Match strategy to situation.
- Secure early wins.
- Negotiate success.
- Achieve alignment.
- Build your team.
- Create coalitions.
Pillar 2: Enforcing Personal Disciplines
- Plan to plan.
- Judiciously defer commitment.
- Set aside time for the hard work.
- Go to the balcony.
- Focus on influence process design.
- Check in with yourself.
- Recognize when to quit.
Pillar 3: Building Your Support System
- Assert control locally.
- Stabilize the home front.
- Build your advice and counsel network.
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Photo by Scarleth White.