Few things at work are as anxiety-producing as sitting down with the boss to hear their feedback on your performance for the year.

Anxiety at work has been shown have a negative influence on overall health and work performance. (1) Worrying about an upcoming review can feel like just one more stressor on your already full plate.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Performance reviews are meant to be a productive part of the employer/employee relationship. They are opportunities to highlight all that has gone well and set goals for the year ahead.

The way you approach your review can determine if it is stressful or meaningful.

Four Steps to Prepare for Your Performance Review

Remove the Element of Surprise

A big part of what causes anxiety leading up to the review is concern that your boss has something negative to say. Ideally your manager has been provided feedback throughout the year, but if not, it’s ok to check in ahead of time.

Send an email asking about the review format and if there are any topics of discussion you should prepare for. This will not only show your boss you take your review seriously, but also provide you with advance knowledge of what might come up.

Workplace wellness: Remove the element of surprise from year end reviews

Show up with a List of Accomplishments

Take time before the performance review to write out what you have accomplished for the year. Be specific and showcase work you are proud. Your accomplishments may be projects you’ve completed or new knowledge you’ve gained that benefits your employer.

It may be difficult to come up with the list all in one shot. A better process is to keep a running list throughout the year. As you complete something note-worthy add it to the list for the review cycle.

Workplace wellness: Make a list of accomplishments

Prepare a Set of Goals for the New Cycle

Having goals in mind for the upcoming year signals to your boss that you are invested in your work. It also gives you a chance to address any shortcomings that may come up in your review. If you come with a plan to address any feedback you expect to receive, it demonstrates self-awareness and an ability to grow.

Write out a set of skills you’d like to build, trainings you’d like to take, or projects you’d like to be part of. This is your chance to share your long-term goals at the company. If you want to work towards a leadership role start laying the groundwork.

Occupational wellness: Make a list of goals that you can achieve

Show up to Your Review with Confidence

You are an active participant in your annual / performance review. Come with the expectation of a constructive conversation and a chance to share what you bring to your work. This mentality shift acknowledges the essential role you play in the employer/employee relationship. You are not a bystander; you are a valuable asset with a lot to contribute.

Workplace wellness: Ace your annual review / performance review. Be a rockstar. WellnessTool.com.

Don’t Let Worry about Your Performance Review Get in the Way

Your relationship with your boss is a partnership that allows you to be successful at your job. A performance review is one aspect of that partnership and can be a productive opportunity. Show up prepared and confident in your worth and don’t shy away from feedback.

You’ll come out of your review as a better employee and with the support you need to reach your career goals.