At various points in your professional life, you’ll have an opportunity to take stock of the things that you’ve accomplished.
For some this is updating your resume, others this is when applying for a board seat or applying to speak at a TEDx talk. Anytime you are asked for an updated biography is a chance for you to reflect on the accomplishments of your career.
A new promotion, a change in responsibilities or receiving an award are also key moments where you may reflect on the achievements you’ve enjoyed.
Studies show that gratitude can have a positive effect on a person’s life. It can improve your outlook, reduce stress, pave the way for new opportunities and more. If you’re evaluating the progress you’ve made professionally, take time to express gratitude for what you’ve already done.
#1. Say Thank You
Most successful people credit their achievements to others along the way who helped them. A schoolteacher who encouraged creativity, a boss who took a chance on the ‘new kid’, an investor who gave the money to get started, the list of possible contributors to your success may be long. Make a list of the people who helped you and let them know how much you appreciate their support.
#2. Share Your Accomplishments
Are you receiving an award or special recognition? Invite key people to share your achievement with you. Were you recognized in a media outlet or press release? Send the announcement to someone who helped you along with a note thanking them.
#3. Reward Yourself
Give yourself permission to enjoy the things you’ve accomplished. Treat yourself with something meaningful as a way of celebrating your success. Take the trip, buy the watch (or shoes!), splurge on dinner. Honour your own sacrifice and work that enabled you to succeed.
What if you think you don’t have much to be grateful for?
Maybe you’re just starting out in your professional career, and you don’t have many things on your “accomplished” list. Perhaps your career has been stagnant, and you’ve been content to simply bide your time every day, wishing your life were different. At this point, you may feel as though you have nothing for which to be grateful. You can’t change the past, you can only make decisions today that will move you forward in the future. The way to a better future?
Set professional goals
Goal setting is powerful at any stage of your professional life, but it is especially meaningful at the beginning of your career. Both short and long-term goals will help shape your career in a positive manner, giving you benchmarks to work towards and milestones to take stock of your progress. Use a systematic approach to goal setting, such as the SMART system, which will allow you to create purposeful traction forward.
Shift your focus
Find things to be grateful for – no matter what stage of your career you’re in. Do you have a steady job? Are you relied on by your coworkers for help and support? Have you won recognition by your peers/supervisors for some facet of your job? These accomplishments, while not likely to earn you a spot on the cover of a business magazine, are worthy of recognition and gratitude.
Be honest about the challenges you face
What’s holding you back from reaching new levels of achievement? Do you need to make a career change? Will training in a new area offer you more opportunities? Do you have habits or issues that are keeping you from being successful? Take a hard look at your current level of achievement and find ways to move forward.
No matter what stage of your professional life you’re in, today is the perfect day to show gratitude for the things you’ve already accomplished – and the people who helped you along the way. Who can you thank today?
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.