Three Things I Learned from “Failing” my LifeScore Assessment

Three Things I Learned from “Failing” my LifeScore Assessment

Nearly every year around this time, I take the free LifeScore Assessment by leadership mentor Michael Hyatt. It’s a quick (5-10 mins max) way to get a bird’s eye view of your life–from family to financial, social to spiritual areas. I use it as an end-of-year inventory to help set more targetted personal and professional goals for the New Year.

This year, though, I almost skipped the assessment. Why? Because I knew I would “fail” it. (Read: my score would not jive with my perfectionistic ideals; there’s actually no such thing as failing this assessment.)

Why would I score worse than usual? Because 2018 was perhaps the worst year of my adult life–starting with my (now late) father-in-law being diagnosed with metastasized lung cancer last January.

Although the last month or two have brought a bit more stability, I was in grief and chaos land for most of 2018. I didn’t need an assessment tool to rub in my face how badly most areas of my life had fared the last twelve months.

But last week, I decided to take it anyway.

Why? I suppose for the same reason you stare at a car accident as you drive past–it’s not enough to know that there was a wreck, you also want details. You want to know who died and who was at fault and whether they’re using the Jaws of Life.

More importantly, though, I can’t rebuild my life until I determine the precise level of damage that has been incurred.

As I fully expected, this was the absolute “worst” LifeScore Assessment I’ve ever gotten.

In the process, however, I learned three things that have surprised and empowered me to move forward.

Lesson One

First: evidently this year didn’t damage all areas of my life equally. In other words, things weren’t “bad” all across the board.

In fact, in comparing this year’s score to last year’s, certain areas of my life have actually seen improvement (!). This was especially true of the social/relational and spiritual sectors. (Evidently, suffering in community is good for the soul and brings people together?)

So, if my scores in certain areas had improved, why did I still end up with my worst LifeScore ever? Because other areas saw severe enough setbacks that they brought down the whole resul.

Lesson Two

Here’s the second surprising thing I learned: the areas that bottomed out this year have always been the weakest links in the chain, even in the best of times.

Once again viewing this year’s results in comparison to previous LifeScores, it became clear that it’s not just that things “went to hell” this year, but also that certain areas of my life were already too weak to withstand any deep pressure. The easiest example of this, of course, is finances. I’ve never earned enough to contribute much of a cushion to my family’s income–that has always been a problem, but this year living off one income while my husband tended to his father made it even more of a problem.

It’s not that I think I or my family could have escaped the events of this year unscathed. A better LifeScore wouldn’t have spared me the deep griefs and challenges of 2018, which were objectively some of the most painful things a family can ever face.

But by recognizing these struggles were exacerbated by chronic areas of weaknesses in my life has eased some of the fatalistic bitterness from my perception. I couldn’t have escaped this year, but I could have faced it with more of a financial and emotional reserve.

Lesson Three

This brings me to the final thing I learned by failing my LifeScore this year: we don’t work towards goals and priorities to get gold stars or sidestep the real struggles of life. We do so, in part, to be able to weather storms with greater resiliency, freedom, and purpose.

I see more clearly now that there is more on the line in evaluating my life than feeling proud (or ashamed) of myself, or even being “successful.” I want to adopt a longer-term view in the way I work on (all the areas of) my life. Not only will this help me be more patient with myself, but it will also enable me to build better margins and reserves into my life. Inasmuch as it depends on my choices, the next time a year like 2018 hits, I want to be able to face it with greater freedom and resiliency.

What do you learn by taking an end-of-year inventory of your life?


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