Performance reviews can be a stressful time, but they can also be a time for change. Research published in Harvard Business Review has found that many workers focus mostly on the negatives of a performance reviews, rather than the positives. How do we change this, so performance reviews can become an opportunity for growth rather than guilt? One such method has been developed specifically to solve this problem. It’s called the Reflected Best Self (RBS) exercise. Step 1: Collect Feedback The first thing that you are going to want to do is ask people to provide you with information about yourself from their vantage point. You want to know what people have to say about your personal strengths and weaknesses. Identify key people in your network and begin asking for feedback. Be sure to diversify the group of individuals that you are using to make sure you’re collecting different perspectives (not just your best ones.) Some of the best ways to collect people’s responses is via email, so that there is an electronic paper trail to follow when interpreting the responses. Do not be afraid of asking for feedback if you’re not used to doing so; you may be pleasantly surprised to see what people have to say about you. Step 2: Identify Patterns After collecting responses, you are going to want to begin interpreting the responses and looking for trends. Compare all of the responses together and begin analyzing key duplicates. Be sure to add in responses of your own, and take note on how it matches or differs from your participants. It may be beneficial to plug the responses into an excel file to make interpreting easier in the later steps. Also, be sure to highlight common themes and expressions, as they will be useful in step 3. Step 3: Formulate a Self Image Once you are finished collecting and interpreting the responses, you may have a pretty good feel as to what people have to say about you. The next thing to do is write a summary of all the responses with a “self portrait” theme. Write in a tone that will mirror the action of talking to yourself. This may feel awkward at first, but this will be useful in harnessing the true potential of this exercise. Be sure to include actual keywords from the responses to assure that the responses are not being unintentionally manipulated. This step is the most crucial part of the exercise, as this is the basis for which you will make the change in your life and career. After completing this step, you will know your inner strengths and inner weaknesses from your vantage point as well as the vantage points of others. Step 4: Make a Change With all of your responses analyzed, interpreted, and summarized, now is the time to redesign the way in which you are carrying out your career and daily life. First, identify where exactly you can make the changes. Then, begin to design an action plan. Start with small minimal changes that are tailored to your pinpointed strengths and weaknesses and gradually move to bigger changes. It is important to stay focused on the specific feedback at hand and not make drastic changes based on assumptions that could turn out negatively. After implementing your action plan, you will begin to see how your strengths can be further polished, and you will begin to flourish not only as a professional, but as a member of society. Closing This exercise is designed to help a person develop, so be sure you’re viewing all feedback as opportunities for growth and not pure criticism. Pay attention to negative feedback in so much as it will help you grow, but don’t give it more weight than the positive. The positive feedback is where you have the greatest opportunities to flourish, and that’s what this exercise is all about.