Evaluation. Ugh. I know it’s important, but in our crank-it-out productivity culture, I don’t want to take the time to do it. Like so many of us, I just want to think about how things went (usually while I am doing the next thing) and move on. However, I also know that rarely works well. By taking a little time to really look at and celebrate what went well & why, and objectively look at what didn’t go well & why, we break free of the same mistakes that keep us stuck. I’m going to walk you through a situation where this process brought about an unexpected, inspiring outcome.
I organized and host a monthly Women’s Group at my church. Topics usually revolve around health and ways to pray often, eat well and move more-and is offered at no cost. 5-8 women usually join me every month and participants have always shown appreciation for these evenings of connection. One month, I chose to cover body movement for the 1st time and planned to show how easily I move my body with YouTube videos.
Arriving an hour early, I set up the screen & projector, readied hot & cold water for tea, found two of my favorite routines on YouTube and tested the sound. I waited an extra 5 minutes for participants to arrive and proceeded to follow the video in awe of God’s beauty as I watched the sun set through the windows–on my own. Nobody came.
Trying to Focus on the Positive
Wrapping up my solitary session, I felt rejected, like nothing I do ever works, is ever good enough, blah, blah, blah. Trying to focus on the positive, I thought of the awesometastic, peaceful qi-gong experience I just had. I was able to zero in on God & the different ways he moves within and around me. I also thought to myself, They missed out! I’ll get home, get showered, and be ready for sleep at my normal time–something that’s usually put off by at least an hour on these nights, just because we have so much fun!
Nope-I was NOT going to let myself cry.
Cleaning up, an SUV pulled up to the side door (usually only open for Sunday mass) honking the horn. Going over to the door, I saw a woman dart out of the car & up to the sidewalk as I hurried to open it for her. She was on her way home after eating out, asked to use the bathroom and briefly explained she couldn’t wait until the next town (my church 5 miles from the nearest town). I continued to put things away when she emerged, expressing her gratitude profusely. I shared with her that no one is usually here at this time-and she was doubly grateful. As was I. I wished her luck on her way home, reminding her about the gas station in the next town on her route, said a silent prayer for her and finished cleaning up.
Then I made my way into the empty sanctuary. I knelt down, looked up at the crucifix and sobbed, letting all the Whys, Whats, Hows Whens out, tears freely flowing down my cheeks.
Exasperated, I took my own advice, declaring, “I surrender this all to you, Lord. Creating something from scratch is SO hard. Please guide me and give me the courage to follow through. What do you want me to do next? Please show me, so I know without a doubt. What do you want me to do?“
Kneeling there, I was reminded of the Evaluation Tips I use with my clients.
Be objective-state the facts. I organized an event, using suggested ideas.
- What went well?
- I got the bulletin announcement in and the Facebook event created and shared.
- I got to share some information with a parishioner who popped in before the event that would hopefully help her mother-in-law.
- I got to watch a gorgeous sunset as I did the qi-gong routine.
- I got to be there for that woman who desperately needed the bathroom.
Why? I don’t know about the whys, but I do know I focused on these things and the joy these things brought me that evening. I was SO glad I was there for those 2 women and was able to treat them in a Christ-like manner. Really honing in on that aspect of the evening, I felt more peace settle over me.
What didn’t work? No one else came to participate.
Why? Not sure.
- Maybe it was because I didn’t send out an email reminder?
- Maybe because I didn’t have ladies RSVP?
- Maybe it was a busy night?
- Maybe no one wanted to drive home in the dark? (It’s usually dark when we wrap up this time of year)
- Maybe nobody liked the subject?
- Maybe they were afraid to move their body in front of others?
- Maybe Women’s Group has run its course?
Rewarded with Joy & Inspiration
Because I was so thankful for what went right, and that I just knew God placed me there to let that woman in to use the restroom, the ‘What didn’t work?‘ and ‘Why?‘ wasn’t so painful and I could see them objectively. It was then I started receiving all kinds of inspiration. Ideas popped up and a clear direction for some next steps as well as the motivation to actually take action on them. One of them being this article.
In surrendering and gratitude, I allowed Jesus to transform my confusion, disappointment & frustration to an abundance of peace, joy & inspiration. I realized I wouldn’t have had all these new ideas had others been there. It was a learning experience and one I have no regrets over. I was able to come home, briefly talk to my husband, shower, journal about it, jot down my ideas and then I slept like a log. (Journaling–a powerful tool! Get my FREE Journaling Guide. )
Had I focused on the fact that no one came to participate, it would’ve been a different story. Yes, I would’ve cried and probably started packing up right when I realized that no one was coming. I wouldn’t have had the amazing sunset experience. I would’ve went home feeling sorry for myself and missed the opportunity to minister to that parishioner, stranger in need, connect with God and receive his inspiration.
Do I know what I’m going to do about future Women’s Groups? Not yet. But I do know I’m going to make some pivots and fill in some gaps with my coaching business. I’ll explore speaking, workshop & retreat opportunities, find ways to automate more tasks, guard my creative time more by saying, ‘No’ more often (including letting go of things I’m already doing).
So, if you know me or have taken part in HFP Women’s Group, don’t feel bad or guilty you didn’t come that night. But I do want your feedback. What topics or activities do you want me to cover? What evening works better for you? Or would daytime work better? I’m sure childcare would help–but that’s another challenge I’m not willing to tackle right now. I’m always open to suggestions and am doing this to serve you.
I could’ve easily limped home with my tail between my legs, but instead I focused on how I did serve God and others. This was reaffirmed this morning when Archbishop Jackels explained the gospel by telling us Jesus is asking us not to say, “What is the least I have to do?” but rather, “What more can I do to serve you, Lord?” To whom much is given, much is expected.
Coming full circle and moving on, that’s what evaluation is all about: taking time to celebrate what went right–so we can duplicate it. Of equal importance is to look at what didn’t go well objectively–so we can quickly change it, move on and not get stuck on it. Dwelling on negative things doesn’t move us forward as much as celebrating joy does. This is the exact approach I take with my clients. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather run toward something that brings me joy than scramble from something I don’t want in my life.
What would you like to run to?
I am accepting new clients who are ready to improve their health as they strengthen their connection to God. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and set up a free 20 minute discovery call to see how I can help you create a clear path, leaving your free to run toward your health goals.