Self-Appraisal Leads to Inner Peace

Well, it’s been a few days of a heavy topic, and today I’m going to lighten things up. I’m going to talk about my experience at a networking event last night, and my discovery of how a self-appraisal saved the evening.

I had a vendor’s table at a women’s networking event and it was a shopping extravaganza… except at my table. Oh, I had several lookers, but no one bought my book, nor any of the numerous photographs of wrought-iron gates I had displayed. It was very disappointing, very disappointing indeed.

I had come armed with a full box of books (weighing 56# I might add…), a box of framed photographs, and a box of flyers and other info to lay out. Luckily, the tables were 8 feet, so I had room to create a pleasing arrangement of all my wares. The people that stopped by were admiring of my work, but no one bought. I was occupied with my own table, and didn’t see if they were buying from other vendors.

I could come up with all sorts of excuses why I didn’t sell, but I think I know why they didn’t buy. I think it was because I had too much on my table, too many choices. Like the monkey that has two bananas to choose from and can’t make up it’s mind so chooses none, so I believe it was with my table.

Anyway, throughout the course of the evening, I was chosen to come up in front of the audience and state what I do, so I said I work with Vietnam vets to help them find forgiveness of the American people for how they were treated when they returned home. Afterward, a man approached my booth. I could see from his name tag that it was Stan.

Stan outstretched his hand, and said, “I’m a Vietnam vet and I want to thank you for the work that you are doing.” Boy, that made the evening worthwhile, to have let another vet know there is hope on the other side of the resentment, the bitterness. I was humbled. He even took my card to pass along the word of my work.

Earlier in the day, I had stumbled across a site that was a group of Vietnam Vets in San Quentin. I wanted to become a part of the volunteers who visit these men at that prison. I had, after all, visited a friend in Quentin for several years, so was familiar with going into the prison. I discovered, to my disappointment, that because I had been a visitor, I could not be a volunteer. Boy, and I was so excited to be able to go in and talk with the group… So my disappointment of the evening was a continuation, in part, of earlier news.

Let’s look for a minute at the lack of sales last night. I could use excuse after excuse, but as I said earlier, I believe it was because I had too much on the table, too many choices. In other words, I found a reason why what I was doing was not working, rather than blame it on everything else… like, they gave me a bad spot, etc.

The ability to look at myself, to look at my actions and how they contributed to a negative outcome has just occurred for me in sobriety. Being able to do that has been very freeing. No longer do I go seething about, looking for something outside of myself to blame. I can hold myself accountable. I can do a self-appraisal, a performance eval, and see how I contributed to a situation. Again, how very freeing this has been.

It took some practice over time, but my ability to go to seeing my part in something by doing a self-appraisal has been finely honed and I go right there, well, almost right there. The cool thing is, I have 2 more big events coming up during which I can test my theory by having just a few things on my table. I’ll let you know how that works.

Today, when you are tempted to blame everyone and everything around you for your difficulties, take a look at what role you played in the affair. How did you contribute to the negative outcome? Take a look, be humble and willing to accept responsibility for your part. It all starts with a self-appraisal, and a smile at yourself.


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