This idea is something that I actually learned in therapy (I LOVE THERAPY) when I was going through a difficult time developing boundaries personally. But as I've written a little more about avoiding comparisons and the trap of approval-seeking, I've realized that developing a self-audit process is really the best way to avoid these issues.
This can't just be a general concept - it has to be a concrete process. It truly takes sitting with yourself and evaluating you values and goals as a person - not just as a business person. And it might be worthwhile to develop a self-auditing system for different areas of your life.
For example, if I have a fight with one of my children (oh, I would never), my personal self-audit will allow me to go through questions that I've developed for myself to really evaluate where I'm standing within my values and where I might be falling short.
Here are some of the questions I might ask myself:
1. Did I really listen to what they were saying?
2. Did I evaluate both sides of the argument?
3. Did I raise my voice?
4. When I felt things getting out of control, did I encourage us both to take a step back?
5. Did I do my best to find a solution?
If I've developed a "Mom Self-Audit" ahead of time, then I can ask myself these types of questions in the heat of the moment and determine if I've stayed within my values or if I've strayed.
Hey. No one is perfect.
The thing with the self-audit is that if you have been true to your values then, even if things haven't gone well, you know that you did the best you could.
How is this important in business?
Well, if I've developed a self-auditing system for myself as a business owner then it's something I can use to evaluate how I'm doing.
1. Am I treating my employees fairly?
2. Am I responding to client emails within 24-hours?
3. Have I done my best to bring the type of service that I've promised?
4. When a client has an issue, did I listen without feeling defensive?
5. Have I done one task this week to grow my business?
6. Have I done one thing this week that I enjoy?
The list of a self-audit should really be as long as you want it to be - probably no fewer than 20 questions - and it should be in a visible place so that you can check in even when you feel like things are going well.
By using this process, we avoid the trap of approval-seeking and comparing ourselves to others. We've clearly defined our own goals that are firmly within our value system. Sometimes we might fall short, but if that's the case we know what needs to be fixed.