How To Survive Performance Review Season Using Yoga Principles

Over my 14+ year career, I’ve been in some good and bad performance reviews, and I’ve received some really f*k’d up feedback.

I’ve come to dread this time of year.

The Good, The Bad, and Self-Awareness

It’s been as bad as receiving feedback that was noted on a post-it.

It’s been as good as helping me identify that sometimes, early on in my career, I would roll my eyes when some people spoke.


Good feedback: Re-read your emails before sending them out.

Good feedback: You pronounce the word ‘ask’ like ‘ax’.

Bad feedback: You should work on your presentation skills (no further clarity given, I take the presentation class and the following year I hear the same feedback – hidden messages much?)

Bad feedback: Your posture suggests that you don’t take feedback well (dude, your desk is a cluttered mess and I have to take notes in my lap!)

Bad feedback: Your work isn’t as impactful as Roy Bob


What i’ve learned about myself over the years of receiving and giving performance reviews/feedback…

  • I really dislike focusing on my weakness.
  • I dislike vague messages.
  • I dislike masked messages.

She get’s it from her Yama’s!

Through my yoga practice I have learned to survive (and sometimes thrive) during this season of review.  Several yoga principles have come in handy for me:

Yama (restraint)

Niyama (observance of internal self-restraint)

Asana (physical posture)

Pranayama (regulation of breath)

Today, I’ll describe the Yama’s.  The Yama’s are social contracts, or how we treat others exercising compassion towards others, truthfulness, abundance,  self-reliance, and continence.

Get agreement, verbally on how the meeting will progress.

  • Speak with kindness. Be compassionate in feeling, thoughts, words and actions.
  • Operate from truthfulness. if an employee is not performing well leaders should provide clear and fact based feedback.  Leaders should also solicit feedback from their team members on how they can improve and ask for examples of what good looks like and where a mistake may have been made in the past.
  • Abundance for all. Let all parties prosper from the work completed and the dialog to follow.  Leaders give credit for a job well done by an associate, they don’t steal ideas. Everyone thrives in a place where our work is celebrate, acknowledged and rewarded. Implement self-reliance by stating expectations, needs, and exercising restraint without making any comparisons and complaining.

Whether you are the receptionist, a mid-level associate or an executive, you have the power and the right to get agreement on how you and the receiver or provider of feedback will conduct the session.  

Wouldn’t it be great to speak and share feedback with the intention of giving and receiving kindness, truthfulness, abundance and self-reliance.

As a leader you have the ability to build your team up or deplete them of motivation by the words you speak.

Speak from a place of love.

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