I sit down to write a self review. I’ve been told that it’s good for me, it gives me a benchmark, it helps me gain perspective on my own opinion, it makes me better for the self review.
I’ve got a blank page in front of me.
That’s not helping. I go and check the qualities – yup. Can confirm, there’s stuff I’m bad at.
Page is still blank.
Writing a self review can be daunting. In the judge program, the term “Self Review” has connotations connecting it to the L3 process and the nine qualities of a level three judge. Just beginning to think about that long road and the act of putting your ambitions and desires down on paper can be crippling, keeping you from taking the next step.
Your first (or second, or third, etc…) self review doesn’t have to be any of those things. It can be event specific or even about a particular call. Getting something written down allows you to develop a multi-purpose benchmark. Not only does it allow you to evaluate where you were in the past, it also shows where you thought you were.
I know that shortly after I advanced to L2, I thought I was nigh perfect and ready for anything. I have a self review from that time period extolling my virtues. Looking at it, I can see not only how much I’ve grown, but I can see how far off I was from understanding where I actually was.
Another important thing about self reviews is that while you’re writing about yourself, you don’t have to do it alone. When I’m writing a review about somebody else, I’ll often speak with other judges for additional perspectives or to help me clarify a thought. If we’re in agreement, that’s a great sign. If not, it helps me recalibrate my viewpoint and provide better feedback.
You can do the same for a self review. Self reviews aren’t solo reviews. Talking with a friend you can say something like “I thought I was off my game this weekend. Did you see anything that might have put me on tilt?”
If you have a line of questioning to pursue or a particular incident that you’re curious about, you can get a lot of valuable feedback that shapes your understanding of both what happened and your own abilities. In the long run, what this boils down to is this: talk to people – ask for their insight and utilize their perspective.
Outside perspective is critical as it allows you to compensate for a natural bias. While you can do your best to eliminate that bias, you still have an innate understanding about your motivations, thought processes, and goals. Other judges don’t have access to all of this data, so your evaluation of your own actions will often be different from theirs.
As you grow to understand your motivations more and more, you’re better able to account for that inherent bias. However, no matter how well you understand ourselves, there is value to an outside perspective. By simply being in a different part of the room, a friend can provide invaluable insight. Their insight can highlight your actions in a way that you could never have seen and allow you to continue to grow.
All of this doesn’t make a self review magically appear in your inbox on JudgeApps. You still have actually write the thing. Even if you put off writing it, think about it. You get to spend all of your time with your subject, asking them questions, and that’s an advantage you don’t have with any other review.
Writing a self review doesn’t have to be intimidating. And even if it is still a little bit scary, you don’t have to go it alone. Go ahead, get started!