I’m addicted to TED Talks. Have you ever watched these? If you haven’t, I highly recommend them! They’re short videos from expert speakers on topics like education, science, business – all sorts of things.

I was watching How to Gain Control of Your Free Time as I got ready for work a couple weeks ago, and it really resonated with me. At one point, Laura Vanderkam urges the audience to picture themselves a year from now; imagine it’s time for your performance review. You have just had the most awesome work year ever.

What kinds of things would have to happen to make you feel that way? 

She then prompts the audience to think about this, use the outcomes that would make their work year awesome, and base performance review goal setting around those things. How brilliant is that?!

What would make me say I had the best work year ever?

Feeling like I was able to bridge different departments together and build those cross-company relationships would be one thing. Another would be knowing I helped people move their careers forward and helped them grow as individuals. A third would be to creatively solve problems that positively impact people across the company, and even our clients.

I’ve had the opportunity to ask a few coworkers here at First Business Bank this question, and they had really meaningful answers. One person said she’d feel her work year was awesome if she had been a great co-worker. Another person said becoming confident in his work would make his work year awesome.

These are things that, as a manager, are so fun to drill into and draw out goals that are truly meaningful to the person. I’m looking forward to seeing how asking a question like this can change the dynamic around the goal-setting aspect of performance reviews in my area this year.

Looking at it from the viewpoint of having had an awesome work year and really determining what would make it happen creates significance and designs the goals toward fulfillment.

How fulfilling would it be to fast forward to next January and write in my self-review that it’s been an awesome year? It would be even more fulfilling to see people on my staff echo that sentiment.

So I urge you to think about this question for yourself, and ask others about it. What would make your work year awesome? Or even your personal life awesome this year?