Over the past few days, I have been clearing the clutter, to make room for what I want to accomplish in 2012 personally and professionally. During this process, I realized that I received five journals as gifts this year from various conferences at which I have spoken and events that I have attended.
Seeing that stack of journals reminded me about the power of writing things down. It seems like such a simple thing – so simple that many underestimate its value. So, as you wrap up this year and begin thinking about the next, take time to write down these three things:
1. Your goals
Writing down your goals has tremendous power. Once you put them on paper, you will find yourself applying more scrutiny to them, refining them, and thinking about how you will achieve them. Often that step to get the goals out of your head and onto a sheet of paper is the most important one in making that commitment to achieving them.
What are your top 3 goals for the next six months or year? Be specific.
2. How you define success
People tell me all the time that they expect to be past a certain point by now, whether they are talking about their careers, a particular project, or something related to their personal lives. “Come on, shouldn’t I be there by now?!”
When I dig deeper, I usually find that they haven’t defined where “there” is. In other words, they don’t really know what success looks like. So, of course they never get “there.” And even if they did get “there,” would they know it?
In situations like this, most people don’t realize that their definition of success may have become a moving target tied more to their feelings in that moment rather than their progress against clear measures of success.
So, what is your definition of success for the next six months or year? How will you know when you have achieved it?
3. Your accomplishments
I find that high performers usually underestimate or overlook their successes, quickly moving to the next thing on their lists without taking the time to notice or celebrate what they have actually accomplished.
Having a list of your achievements handy will not only help you recognize your achievements, but also arm you with the information you need to regularly provide “strategic snapshots” of your performance to key stakeholders.
What are the three accomplishments you are most proud of from 2011? Who will you share them with? How will you track your accomplishments in 2012 so that you can keep them front and center?
I hope this week’s article has gotten your wheels turning. I urge you to look at your calendar, and find some time to answer the questions I posed. Remember that you don’t have to do it in one big chunk of time. Just do it in a way that works for you