ICCE TIG Week: Livaluate by going within by Hayat Askar

Hi AEA365 community, Marhaba! My name is Hayat Askar, a Monitoring and Evaluation professional from Jordan and the Vice-president of Jordan Development Evaluation Association (EvalJordan).

When Covid-19 first hit the world, I was like many others: scared, confused, worried about how this might impact my life, the life of my family, and the ones I love. Today, after more than a year, I see life in a different perspective! I don’t pretend that I am trying to be positive in a world full of negativity. I was just practicing evaluation in my personal life.

Cartoon drawing by the author with magnifying glass and stick figures with the word "Livealuste"

‘Eva the Evaluator’ book by Roger Miranda shows a father who struggles explaining to Eva what evaluation is. Seems familiar? No need to mention how many times I hear the same question from my 11-year old niece! I will not claim that I have an easy-to-understand answer to this question. But it urged me to pause and think on what it is that I am doing.  On where evaluation is in my day-to-day life.

Susan Kistler on Thinking Evaluatively in Your Everyday Life explained how she was an evaluator even before she knew what evaluation is. She believes that thinking like an evaluator gives her the space and confidence to act like a mom, a wife, a friend, a colleague. Christian Simpson says, “if we fail to go within we will go without.”   In fact, evaluation gives me the space to see the soul behind all I am doing. It helped me go within.

Lessons Learned:

Today, more than a year since the pandemic started, I am in love with things I never liked. I can see a beauty I have never seen before. I have a bond with nature. I fall in love with songs I never loved. My resort out of Covid was through tapping into a new side of evaluation I was not aware of. A practice that became part of my daily routine: I was Livaluating.

 Cool Tricks:

Illustration of someone sitting cross-legged with a speech bubble that has a clipboard and a question mark in it.

But how can we use this concept in our day-to-day life? One example could be through Priming. Priming is the act of taking time to adjust your thoughts and emotions so you can live your life in your peak state,  Anthony Jay Robbins. In other words, it is an in-depth meditation practice that brings together mindfulness, breathing and gratitude. This tool can be geared a bit differently to bring your evaluation practice into your life. But How? Well, Try to do a simple meditation exercise, and ask yourself while meditating questions like:

  • How my daily evaluation practice brought me closer to my career goals?
  • What impact has I left on people I am working with and the beneficiaries taking part in my evaluation?
  • What special evaluation moments brought this practice closer to my personal life?

This will bring you closer to yourself, and make reflection part of your daily routine. Maybe we can start calling it, EvalPriming?

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating International and Cross-Cultural (ICCE) TIG Week with our colleagues in the International and Cross-Cultural Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our ICCE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

2 thoughts on “ICCE TIG Week: Livaluate by going within by Hayat Askar”

  1. Thank you, Hayat! I’ve found that the mindfulness practice you suggest can reinforce needed perspective on what evaluation is in my life and the difference I can make through this work. Additionally, and to my surprise, it also supports improvement in communication and management, including my ability to listen with care and to think over likely consequences before I react to situations. These are key evaluative skills!

    1. Dear Jim,
      Thank you so much for your comment, and glad you find it useful. I agree, these are important skills to evaluators and to everyone. What makes them even more valuable is if we can integrate mindfulness practices in our day to day evaluation practice.
      A book that support your point regarding listening with care is Listening Path, for Julia Cameron.
      Best,
      Hayat

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