What are your five greatest accomplishments?
Seems like a pretty easy question to answer, doesn’t it?
So – go ahead – grab a sheet of paper and jot them down.
What’s that? You’ve got two or three, but now you’re feeling stuck? And, you thought this would be a breeze….
Don’t worry! You’re not alone.
This is the very first question I ask all of my coaching clients to have prepared prior to our first session, and 99% of them tell me that this was the most difficult question for them to answer.
So I started to wonder, how could that be? All of them had lifetimes full of exceptional things to be proud of – but when asked just to name five – they struggled.
After much thought and many conversations around this, it became clear to me that, first, many people don’t think that their accomplishments are actually accomplishments (apparently Imposter Syndrome is alive and well!). Additionally, it reinforced that we spend so much time focused on what we don’t have, or on what’s missing from our lives, we completely disregard or minimize the actual things that we should be shouting from the rooftops.
It’s time for that to change. There is no better time than the present to take real inventory of your accomplishments!
- Take Your Time: This is not a one-day exercise. You’ve done a lot more than you think! Reflect. Sift through your keepsake drawer. Open that folder on your computer filled with old company reviews and special emails. Reminisce with your parents, siblings, best friends and spouses. You’ll be surprised how much you’ve forgotten along the way.
- Get Into The Details: Your accomplishments are in there – below the surface. The goals you’ve exceeded. What you’ve overcome. Your drive, dedication, character and persistence. Don’t gloss over the important stuff.
- Write Them Down: Keep a list. This may sound cheesy, but it will come in handy. Maybe when you need to update your resume, go on an interview, attend a networking event, write your own bio, or maybe when you need a little pick-me up after a few bad days. This list won’t just remind you of the past; it’s a jumping off point for the future.
- Don’t Be Shy: Get comfortable talking about the things you’re proud of. You’ve earned it. You don’t have to be “braggy” or obnoxious, but you certainly don’t have to feel embarrassed. Serve up your accomplishments to a future hiring manger. Offer your expertise to a volunteer committee. Share your unique experiences at a networking event. Weave it into a relevant conversation. Stick to the facts. Connect the dots. Practice makes perfect.
Frankly Speaking: This all may seem very cheesy to you, but I promise it’s worth your time to consider. It may not be today, but there will come a time that you will feel stuck. Whether it be on your career path, or just at a fork in the road of life. Your updated list of accomplishments will prepare you to tackle those crossroads from a position of strength and confidence. They will remind you who you are, what you’re made and – if you look really closely – they will give you some insight into where you should go next.