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Pursuing Excellence Series Part 7: Constructive Evaluation

Developing a Soldier’s Mind To Reach Your Highest Potential

By Coach Dee

Welcome back to our 7 part series on pursuing excellence.

To recap, achieving greatness starts by developing the mind of a soldier. There are seven keys that unlock the soldier’s mind:

Commit yourself to the mission

Believe you will succeed

Focus fully on the task

Use positive imagery

Prepare your mind for the battle

Control the distractions and barriers that hinder results

Continue to learn and grow

This article focuses on the last element:

Continue to Learn And Grow

After Action Review (AAR)

After every mission, every training exercise, and every task performed, the Army performs a debrief (called an after action review (AAR)) to evaluate mission success. An AAR is synonymous with constructive evaluation or feedback.

Literally, there’s an AAR for everything in the Army. Here’s how it goes: Everyone involved gathers in a circle before we leave for the day and discuss:

  1. What was supposed to happen

  2. What actually did happen

  3. At least 3 things that went well

  4. At least 3 improvements with solutions.

I used to look at this like a tedious annoying task. As an inexperienced young soldier, I didn’t understand the purpose of doing this for everything. Now, I use this same method in my personal life to evaluate my own performance and the success of my daily mission.

There Is No Failure

“I never lose. I either win or I learn.”--Anonymous

Once you start looking at life like success or learning opportunities, there is no such thing as failure. You either win or you learn, grow, and perform better next time. For all you who have an overwhelming fear of failure, this used to be me too. Once I started looking at life from this angle, it brought instant peace.

Constructive Evaluation

You will never grow, learn, and improve without evaluating where you are right now. The purpose of constructive evaluation is to reflect upon what you are doing well, figure out areas of improvement or refinement, draw out important lessons, and act upon the lessons learned. The purpose is to become stronger, so when you are faced with this challenge again, you will be much more prepared.

If you want to perform at your best, you must get in the habit of evaluating yourself often.

Delta’s Feedback System

Delta collects feedback frequently from our members. Most become annoyed with our monthly, quarterly, and annual feedback. Most either ignore the requested information or answer it haphazardly. As irritating or invasive as this may be, we do have a purpose for every single detail in our business. We ask for feedback from our athletes regarding our business to help us build a stronger system that continues to deliver on our promise to our athletes.

We also ask that our athletes evaluate their own performance inside the gym and outside the gym. Self-evaluation is something we don’t do enough in life--most of us can’t stand to face the hard facts. We ask our athletes to reflect on their goals and behaviors and create a small plan of action to move in the direction of success. Those who spend the time truly reflecting tend to be our most successful. This is no coincidence.

Constructive Self-Evaluation is the key to learning, growing, and succeeding.

Conclusion of This Really Long, Drawn Out Series

If you missed any articles, I urge you to go back and read it. It is not enough to just read the words on this page, though. You must apply what you are learning. I gave you the tools to success. It's up to you to use them to build something spectacular.

If you made it through all the articles in this blog series, I wanted to thank you for sticking with me. If you follow the guidelines and tips in this series consistently and with purpose, you are guaranteed to succeed in any goal you put your mind to.

Never give up. Keep driving forward.

If you are interested in learning more about the Delta Performance coaching system:

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