Capture your proud moments
We all tend to get so busy that work and life can just fly by at a very fast pace.
What I have learned is that if you don’t pause to punctuate your accomplishments, they have a tendency to fade from memory — not just in the minds of others, but in your own memory too!
Here’s what can happen…
You finish a giant project. It was a huge success. In this moment you feel very proud. You may get recognition from you customers or your company. But if you don’t pause to capture this moment for yourself, you’ll lose it.
Works gets hard again right away
If you just go back to your task list, and just keep doing more work, after a few months, that sense of pride fades — or gets beaten out of you by new work, crises, and pressures. And the detail, and concrete nature of the accomplishment fades too.
If you try to recall the story later, it’s missing the richness of all the subtle things that made it so great.
Don’t lose your story!
You run the risk of looking back at something you did that was really great in the past and thinking, “Yeah, I did that, but it wasn’t such a big deal”. But it WAS a big deal!
But if you took the time to capture it, when you revisit it months or years later, you’ll still have the reaction, “Wow, that was a big deal!”
How to capture your best stories
Ask yourself the question, “What did I do in the past 6 months that I was most proud of?”
Just write something down while it’s fresh in your head. It doesn’t have to be long.
- What was the situation?
- What did you decide to do about it?
- How did you make that decision?
- What did you do?
- How did it turn out?
- Who loved it? What did they say?
- What was the business upside?
- What were you most proud of?
- How does this story reflect what you do when you are at your best?
Benefits of documenting your best stories
Right away this has at least 2 major benefits.
1. If you have things you are proud of you don’t lose them.
2. If you don’t have things you are proud of it’s a trigger to evaluate what you are doing with your time!
The other benefits of having a pre-existing stack of your best stories are that over time:
1. If you ever need to get ready for an interview, you don’t need to rack your brain to try and come up with stuff, it’s all there.
2. More importantly, since you captured the story while you were still excited about it, you will have preserved the excitement. You will have preserved the details that made it interesting, and the subtle elements that connected with you emotionally.
So when you tell the story in the future, it will be a much more compelling and credible story.
3. If you ever get discouraged, or have somehting happen that shakes your confidence, you can re-read your stories for your own benefit.
Tell your stories!
Most likely, one of the reasons you were proud of what you did was because you learned a lot.
So don’t foret to share what you learned!
This is an amazing way to create positive visibility for your work without bragging.
When you share something important that you learned, you are adding genuine value to the team. You get visibility, without being annoying. Because what you learned is interesting and useful. Interesting and useful is never annoying.
Talking about what you learned, and teaching it to others also helps you expand on your own insights, so you get smarter too.
Schedule some time to think and write
Sure we are all busy, and this is not strictly part of your day job.
But it’s worth scheduling about 1 hour every six months to do this.
Because having your best work documented will not only save you time in the future, it will allow you to distinguish yourself and build credibility quickly whenever the need arises.
And also, don’t forget, having authentic, interesting success stories at your fingertips, is rocket fuel for your establishing a strong personal brand.
What do you think?
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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)
And make sure to read her book
RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.
The answers to your career struggles and your next promotion are in it!