Once your last graduation ceremony has ended, whether it is high school or a graduate degree, summer breaks no longer mark the passage of time. It’s really easy to feel like you’re stuck in the same place, like you’re not moving forward. In these times, it’s increasingly important to focus on your wins.
When I was a kid, I used to spend summers at my grandparent’s house in Boston. The summer I turned 11, I decided it would be really cool to make my own quilt. I had seen my aunt make beautiful quilts for wedding gifts and I wanted to make my own. So my Nana grabbed some fabric remnants and some thread she had in her sewing room, and I got to work measuring and cutting the pieces I would use to make the pattern. Now, 11-year-old me wasn’t great at completing tasks. I would get excited about something, do it for a bit, and then move on to something else. This was the first big hobby project I actually completed. Even though it wasn’t perfectly measured or perfectly stitched, it turned out pretty well and I was so proud of it. I remember feeling like I had accomplished something. Can you see it? The kid beaming with a big smile on her face, pleased with herself?
There’s no reason we can’t re-create that same feeling today. You probably have a similar story of something you did as a kid that made you feel like a million bucks. Maybe you were older, in high school or college. Now that you’re an adult you have to accomplish something big and important to be proud of yourself, right? I used to think that was true.
I had a VP at one of my previous jobs who specifically asked the entire department to send her wins. She explained that she intended on sharing them with the Senior VP and the executive team during their weekly meetings. They were a way to spotlight the amazing things our department was doing to achieve company goals. I felt so weird when I sent my first one to my manager. I wondered, “Am I bragging?” “I’m just doing my job, it’s not a win.” I sent a few more and started to feel like “Hey, yeah, I earned my paycheck today.” That turned into “Maybe even if I don’t share them, I should keep track so I can see my progress in hindsight.” It felt good.
If you’re celebrating the small wins, you’re reinforcing the idea that you are awesome, you matter and you are making progress. Try making a spreadsheet or a list of accomplishments throughout the week. I’ve made a template here for you to try! List what it was, the date and how you felt. It may seem silly to start with things like “I grabbed lunch for a co-worker who couldn’t leave the office that day” or “Had a hard conversation with my boss,” but those are wins. The more you recognize your small wins, the more you will believe you are making progress in your development, confidence and impact. Feel free to share some of your wins with us in the comments!
P.S. There is a fine line between bragging and celebrating wins. Make sure you are respecting others, celebrating their wins too!
A professional, speaker, coach, leader, corporate director, wife, boxer, dancer and cat mom. I'm here to be your best friend voice with a plan, helping you achieve your goals and reach your potential.
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