Mirror Mirror on the wall: Dear Men … & Women. Especially Men.

Once upon a time, I found myself in a room with the evaluation paper in front of me. Seemingly, I was doing A-OK but could do better – tell me more! I thought as I rolled my eyes also in my thoughts. Once the fluff/filler conversation was done I was asked to sign the eval paper. I took the pen and drew a line across my name and corrected the spelling of my name. Stared back as I slid the eval back.

I thought to myself- I really do not like someone judging my work when they cannot get the basics right.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself in the seat of the one evaluating. Guess what the paper misspelled – their NAME!! I will spare you the details of my flustered, embarrassed and humbled self.

Define Karma a short story by Shivani Kulkarni

Professional Performance Evaluation: The one where you evaluate yourself so that someone else can evaluate you and your work. Ranging from a corporate employee to an entrepreneur! Ranging from kill me now to tell how I can get better. Ranging from I know I am a superstar to let’s get this over with. Emotions, oh so many damn emotions.

This circle of feedback/learning/evaluation/reflecting can be positive, negative or non-consequential but it is accepted by all as a professional process. End of the day, the reward for the evaluation can often be tied to tangible growth or learning that ultimately lead to tangible growth.

Within 12hrs of an online purchase, an email is sent asking for feedback.

We all look for that nod and approving smiles in a big meeting.

Consumer feedback management is a business in itself.

We are incentives to give opinions on products and services.

We look forward to the validation that we are doing great and that growth awaits us.

More today than ever, one will agree, that there is a need to evaluate feedback, iterate and evolve!

We tirelessly self-assess to outperform ourselves: we reflect on the victories, the losses, the conflicts, the break room chatter, the public reviews and more. We are gender, race, and religion united when it comes to professional growth even if it means trekking that hard path of feedback, reflection and re-building.

Self Assessment = Self Reflection = meditation or serious thought about one’s character, actions, and motives.

The same process is applied and welcomed for physical well being. Proactive measures of physical health assessment because …well – life! & the daunting cost of healthcare for a cure, in case of sickness.

We accept and encourage self-reflection in professional life as it risks tangible loss.

We accept & encourage self-reflection for physical health as it risks the quality of life, tangible discomfort, monetary loss & more.

Then, what makes us fight, mock, ignore, dismiss the tools of self-reflection for our mental health?

What if we gave our personal life the same luxury of personal evaluation?

Pro-active career-enhancing actions & physical-health enhancing measures surely do not imply that either one of those is broken. Then why are the measures for pro-active mental health enhancement viewed as frivolous and unnecessary – Especially, from men.

I am well aware of the gender generalization here and while I know some incredibly self aware men, there is a shortage. Stay with me till the end, if you can.

See, I have skin in this game. I care deeply to know why:

Self-Love | Self-Reflection | Mindfulness | Meditation | Journaling | Therapy | Counseling

Media, Merchandise, Services, Coaches & Publications are serving us reminders daily to enhance quality of life.

Maybe its daunting to start or maybe it needs to be normalized in your head. Know that you are the only one who can start and the only one who can normalize it.

Dear Men .. & Women, especially Men,

Maybe the society said Men don’t cry or the humor seems to suggest that only girly women talk about their feelings or that masculinity needs to be void of feelings and emotions, and thereby there is leniency with your behaviors or that mediation will make into a purple unicorn or that writing your feelings may make basic!

I know that one day my little boy will be part of your tribe. And, while I do my best to normalize self-reflection to him, he will look up to you too for what is normal.

Dear Women .. & Men, especially Women,

Maybe we allow for this normalization to thrive without judgement. Maybe we demand for better behavior. Maybe we self-reflect ourselves so that we are an example of mental growth.

Self-Reflection is your responsibility & it is not a one day gig. It’s my responsibility to myself. Its till our last breath, so that our regrets are slim and hopefully the smiles are wide.

8 thoughts on “Mirror Mirror on the wall: Dear Men … & Women. Especially Men.

  1. I like how you started this – very relatable.
    I’ll focus on one of the things that make up self reflection – mental health. In a lot of communities, as you and I know very well, getting “help” is stigmatized. Among men, one is considered weak and the perception is that seeking such help for mental health puts a dent in one’s masculinity.
    It’s like “you don’t need any help but if you do end up seeing a doc, don’t talk about it – treat it like a dirty secret”.
    If you’re a woman on the other hand, you’re too self absorbed and have too much time and money if you talk to a therapist – “immerse yourself in work and in the kitchen or with your baby coz that’ll solve things”.
    I love the idea of “normalization” – let’s start by encouraging conversations around how depression is real and how it affects our well being. If everyone is talking about it and is open about finding help, that not only helps create awareness but lays down the path in to making mental health care a daily routine.

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    1. That is specifically the intent and I appreciate that you recognized it. With normalization will come pro-active effort to being healthy on whole.
      One need not even be depressed or sad to self reflect. If one finds that they are seeking purpose or not able to recognize and manage their behavior from the emotions they feel then self-reflection is a must. We absolutely must stop the gas-lighting attitude.

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    2. I agree with you, self reflection is a must, but what I’ve learned over the years is realizing that what I might have to reflect might not always be good things. Sometimes realizing what the issue is good or bad can help the situation and yourself in finding solutions.
      And like you said self reflection is not a one day gig, the base of it is to realize a lot of factors. Asking for help or advise shouldn’t be seen as a sign of weakness.

      Good read!!!

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  2. Beautifully written! Self-reflection is important for everyone. Two questions I ask myself:
    – How do I work in improving my thoughts for someone, something, situation, etc. and question my mental processes to make them better everyday

    – Do I take time to clarify my values in a moment of doubt or uncertainty?

    Helps me better my self everyday! I wish people read this blog – they will be able to connect dots and will help them self – reflect.

    Funny thing – I had my annual performance evaluation just a couple days ago and I could relate to every bit of it to this blog 😆😆😆

    Great job Shivani!

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  3. Definitely need more conversation on this topic and making it the norm to self-reflect toward a better quality of life. Forget where I read it but in one interview, someone said how they use one principle to evaluate everything – how does x or y enhance or contribute to my/your quality of life? It has taken me some training but I try to use that to guide my thoughts and actions, personal and professional, many a time.

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