Do you have an accomplishment journal?
I don’t know if you’ve seen my Wall of Fame & Fortune & Awesomeness but it’s a list of all the awesome publications and websites I’ve have the pleasure of being in, on, or near. It’s essentially a list of my accomplishments as a result of this blog and it’s something I feel very fortunate to have been able to do. I was in the local paper once when I was in 6th grade for reading to kindergartners in my school, the New York Times was a little bigger than that.
The point of showing that post both here and at the top of every page isn’t to brag or show the world how awesome I am. It’s there because it gives me the motivation to keep doing what I’m doing every day, day in and day out. Life can be a grind, whether its in an office, a restaurant, a factory floor, a job site, or a retail store. Unless you make a record of the highlights, you can often get lost in the grind and find yourself on the flip side without a clue of what happened.
There are a few other reasons why I think an accomplishment journal is crucial.
What Is An Accomplishment Journal
An accomplishment journal is simply a place you can write down and celebrate all of your accomplishments. You define what success is and you define what you consider an accomplishment. The door is wide open and anything you want to put down is fair game. What an office manager considers a success is different than what a stay at home mom or dad considers a success. A student has different goals, and thus different accomplishments to note, than an executive. However, for any one of those people, an accomplishment journal is something that can provide value for years to come.
Why Keep One?
If you ever kept a journal as a child (I didn’t but my wife did and I love reading her cute notes), you know how much fun reading your own thoughts can be. Who and what bothered you, who you liked and disliked, what your concerns were at the time, etc. Now, an accomplishment journal is similar in that you can relive your successes. It makes it much easier to remember the past and offers a glimpse into your own development. That’s the emotional sappy reason, there are also many logical reasons to keep a journal.
It helps you keep your resume up to date. I recommend revisiting and updating your resume every three months, even if you aren’t looking for a job. It’s important to update your resume when the accomplishments and responsibilities are still fresh in your mind. Can you accurately remember the work you did five years ago? If you were put under the gun, like after being laid off, would you be able to remember the work you did last year with sufficient clarity? If you are able to recall exactly what you did, maybe you don’t need to update it every three months. I only know that I can’t, which is why I update it every three months.
It motivates you. One of the biggest things I learned from my wife when she was looking for a job several years ago was the importance of progress when there appeared to be none. One of the tips I offered in my post about Three Morale-Boosting Tips for Job Seekers was to track your progress. Tracking your progress in a job hunt is like tracking your accomplishments. It may seem silly or minor to you but when you send out ten resumes or go out on an interview, those are accomplishments. When you look back after a week of searching, it’s much better to see “I sent out 85 resumes.” than to remember “I spent all week sending resumes.”
It lets you define how success is measured. Mark at Soul Shelter recently wrote about his struggles with the idea of success. Mark is a writer, a midlist writer (where the books aren’t a bestseller but sell enough to justify publication), and struggles each year around the holidays to describe his vocation. While his struggle was with the external barometers of success for his field, bestseller lists and book sales, he does talk about how “we ought to try to recognize and value others’ achievements, big and small, vocational and personal. And most importantly, if we want to be happy and self-confident and continue wholeheartedly doing the work we love—however underpaid or undervalued—we must learn to rely on the measures of success that mean the most to us personally, and strive not to lose sight of them.”
Having your own journal of accomplishments can help further that goal, if only for yourself. Rather than look towards income or other external measures, your accomplishments are whatever you want them to be and when you write them down, they can give you the motivation to work harder. You decide what you want to write down and only you will be reading it, so feel free to write down things that are important to you that may not be important to anyone else.
Do you keep a journal of your achievements and accomplishments? If so, what was your latest accomplishment? It’s ok to share!