Recognition At Work

Recognition; having your peers, Supervisor and/or end users acknowledge your effort, good work habits, results achieved and attitude. In short, are you getting enough?

In some workplaces, employees report only getting positive recognition at their yearly performance appraisals. That means they go 364 days between hearing words of appreciation and having what they do on behalf of an organization recognized. I don’t know about you but that kind of working environment is one I’d rather not work with. No, I want to work in a climate where I hear words of encouragement and gratitude on a regular basis. Tell me I’m appreciated and that the work I’m doing is of a consistent high quality and I’m far more likely to invest myself in what I do and strive to do even better. Ah but that’s just me.

Now to be clear, I’m not advocating that employers have recognition ceremonies and awards dinners on a weekly basis where everyone is the employee of the month. That would get expensive, lose it’s meaning rather quickly and certainly would come across as less than authentic. Nonetheless, good employers; the best of the best mind – find ways to recognize the good works of their people on a regular basis. The interesting thing is that it need not involve what most people would assume would be the number one reward; money.

Suppose you were working away in your job today and one of your colleagues sticks their head in the door and says, “Hey you got a sec? I just wanted to thank you for your help yesterday. I really mean it, that was very kind of you.” Or your boss comes down to the area you’re working away in and in front of your co-workers casually remarks, “Thought I’d let you know that the idea you brought forward a couple of weeks ago is being strongly considered as a pilot project. Keep up the good work.”

Now neither of the above has added a single cent to your financial wealth. There’s no new certificate hanging on your wall, no champagne uncorked or free tickets to a sporting event in your mail slot. Yep, it didn’t cost anyone anything to pass on words of recognition except perhaps the effort it took to physically approach you and say thanks. Nonetheless, I’m guessing you’d feel a surge of gratefulness, your disposition would improve, you’d feel positive about yourself and most importantly you’d feel thankful for that recognition.

Further imagine that this kind of behaviour was duplicated with a fair degree of regularity. Perhaps it’s you acknowledging the good work of a colleague, that your boss high-fives one of your teammates on the assembly line for going another week without any quality issues or the Receptionist sends you a brief email telling you how highly one of the customers you just helped out thinks of you. Wouldn’t that be the kind of workplace where the overall mood of the employees was elevated? Think how positive the culture would be, where people felt those who worked there really cared about not just the end results but the people they worked alongside.

In reality, the kind of culture I’m describing does exist. It isn’t however exclusively up to Management with a capital, “M” to initiate it and officially sanction such behaviour. To achieve this kind of supportive workplace where people are recognized as well as the good works they do is a collective effort. Sure it could start with some organization-wide announcement and training. However, it could also start at any level in the organization with any single employee; it could even start with…dare I say it…you.

It’s true isn’t it? Sure it is. You could make the effort to watch out for people around you who work with a solid work ethic and comment on that. You could tell someone how much you admire their excellent attendance, let them know how you value their experience and helpful attitude etc. As long as it’s genuine and authentic, why couldn’t you make it a regular practice to verbalize what you recognize and admire in the people you work with 7 or more hours a day? Yes it certainly could start with you; and then, what if it started to spread?

Too often I think we expect such things to start as a Management initiative; top down. We figure that they make the most money and therefore they are the ones who should be recognizing our good work, our efforts, our positive outlook, our safety record or excellent results. Why can’t it work the other way round? I imagine your boss or another Supervisor you work alongside in your workplace would also feel good about themselves were you to pass on a word of recognition to them. “Hey boss, I really appreciated your flexibility when I needed to leave an hour earlier yesterday. I know it was short notice and it was one less thing to worry about when I had to get to the hospital and see my dad. That meant a lot to me.”

One constant in all organizations is the involvement of other people. Even if you work remotely from home, you’ve undoubtedly got others you interact with online or via the phone. A small word of recognition goes a long way.

Remember too the customer and end-user; a genuine, “Thanks so much for your business, it’s appreciated” goes a long way.


Mature, Older, Experienced; Unemployed

As an Employment Counsellor, I sit down with a wide spectrum of individuals who are either out of work entirely or underemployed and looking to find a better position. So I meet with people young and old and one of the first things I like to ask is the individuals best guesses as to what stands in their way. Almost without fail, those in their late 40’s or older cite their age as the first thing that comes to mind.

Now this could be for a couple of reasons; either the person has been actually told they are too old by an employer or they feel too old to do whatever work is required in the job(s) they hold as their first choice. In other words the issue of age is external or internal. It’s also possible that both are present simultaneously; you’ve been told you’re too old and you feel it.

If and when the time comes when you hear you’re too old to do the job you’ve got the same power you’ve always had in one key respect which is how you react. In some lines of work, the physical toil on the body, the aches and pains become more acute and require more recovery time. Just as the Coach on a sports team wants the fittest athletes in the game, it’s easy to understand why an employer wants the fittest workers on their payroll when the job demands it.

Okay that’s not hard to understand if we look at things objectively. The Construction industry for example is one field where the physical demands of the job have a lot of people in their early 50’s citing back and knee pain. The folks I’m listening to admit their bodies can’t take the requirements of the job day in and day out like they did in years past, but at the same time they have lots of expertise and experience to contribute and still want / need to keep employed. So the problem shifts from trying to compete with younger, stronger and overall healthier labourers who cost less money per hour to finding a way to leverage their skills and experience in some different role then they’ve had.

And here my readers you’ve come to the crux of the real problem or challenge; the fear of changing one’s role or career; the question of what to do. This is THE question that needs answering. “What can I do at my age when this is all I’ve ever done? This is what I know.”

This problem isn’t limited to the Construction Worker. I’ve met Car Detailers who have lost their jobs or had to quit because the work became too physically demanding. Or rather, the work didn’t change at all but the body of the person doing the job has. I’ve met athletes who, unable to perform at the high levels they once did are now out of work looking for the first time for a job or career outside of sport and the question they ask is identical: “What can I do because this is all I’ve ever done?”

Sometimes the solution is to stay within the industry or field where one’s expertise is valued and just change your role. Become the Trainer, the Consultant, the Health and Safety Ambassador, the Coach. However, there’s the issue of yes knowing how to do the work but now needing training on how to actually impart all you know to those you’d be charged with teaching. Just because you were a fantastic worker or star athlete does not mean you are qualified to share what you know to others. That job, to give it it’s due, requires some investment of your time to fully respect those who teach and mentor.

On the other hand, there comes a point for many when you’ve got to leave the employer you worked for or move outside the field altogether. Without the comfort of the surroundings you’re used to, it can be a scary proposition wondering what else to do with the time you’ve got left when you want to be productive and contribute.

One of the best things you can do is to take stock of your assets. Just as a Mechanic or a Carpenter knows his or her inventory of tools, you’d do well to sit down and list all the strengths and assets you have. For many this is a hard exercise because you can walk into a shop and take in all the physical tools you see, but taking stock of your personal skills and experience and properly labelling those assets is challenging.

Start with your own point of view and then ask others for their opinions. Be honest, objective and drop the inclination to get defensive. ‘Know thyself’ could never be truer. Okay so you’ve got a list going and that’s great. Now you need to do the same with your liabilities. A Mechanic or Carpenter knows when their tools need sharpening and upgrading. You’d do well to acknowledge what you need to improve on and then like them, go about upgrading your own tools.  This could mean anything from taking a course to complete your grade 12 to heading back to school to get your degree.

Everyone is unique; so too is your situation. Feel like packing it in and giving up? As an older worker you’re never done unless you act done.



Job Searching And Moving Back In With Mom And Dad

Just a generation ago, young people grew up in their parents homes, then around their early 20’s left for University, College or jobs and never looked back. They stayed in dorms, frat houses and then rented apartments; maybe shared that rent with someone, then were into the housing market themselves and only returned to their parents places for the holidays and infrequent visits. They had of course their own homes that needed maintaining.

Now where these young adults lived often defined the geographic boundaries in which they could feasibly work. If they chose the big cities with transit options they didn’t need the luxury or the expense of owning a vehicle. If they lived in suburban or rural communities, a car was a necessity and how reliable and cost-efficient it was or wasn’t to operate defined the distance they could go to and from work from home.

Now however in this generation, home ownership is less and less an option for many young people. Whereas in the past the young person moving back in with their parents was in some cases viewed as, ‘a poor thing’ or somehow weak, today such a move has become more understandable and as a result acceptable. Living with mom and dad has its pros and cons like anything else, but hopefully the one pro going for anyone returning home is the ability to save more in rental charges than the general housing market would demand.

Buying your first home in large cities is getting harder and harder to do. In Toronto the typical price of a home is now $720,000.00 and new rules that went into effect recently mean a buyer has to have more of a substantial down payment than previously; the two factors combining are keeping many unable to get that first starter home. There’s an impact on mom and dad too in such scenarios as with adult children in the home, they themselves might not be able to put their own homes on the market and downsize.

So what’s this got to do with jobs? For starters, mom and dad might be living in an area that makes sense for them but not so much for the children they now have back living with them. That house in the country or smaller neighbouring town might work for them but not for the person living inside whose work demands they get into the downtown core. Suddenly living at home to save up the money to use as a down payment is going in part to a transit pass and the trip alone is 3 hours round trip. You can imagine how that commute and living with ones parents is impacting on one’s frame of mind.

Looking for work is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, high stress brought on by hopeful expectations and lack of success, then opportunities arising yet again. Although they mean well, you’ve got parents constantly asking how things are progressing, and if they don’t ask, they wonder all the same and you wonder why they aren’t taking an interest and asking – even though you’ve got little positives to share. Sound familiar?

Of course there are perks. There’s the family car you might have access to, more meals prepared or laundry done perhaps. There’s less isolation and you’re less likely to have to foot all the same bills you would if you were out on your own. So you save on utilities such as cable, hydro and water, presumably lower rent, ma and pa might even spring for dinner out and in return you’re expected to be socking whatever money you can away – if you’re working.

If you’re out of work, where’s the money coming from that you’re supposedly saving? That is a problem. So you’re expected to be out on the prowl looking for work, but how mom and dad job searched all those years ago has changed. They might see you cloistered away in the basement on that computer of yours and wonder why you’re not out pounding the pavement and knocking on doors, but that’s not how today’s job market works is it? It’s now about applying on-line, using social media and specifically targeting each and every resume instead of that one-size-fits-all one that was so well-used in the 1980’s.

Oh and if mom or dad are retired or work out of the house? Oh then they’re there all day long and you feel their gaze constantly on you as you stand in your jammies at 10:30 a.m. looking for something in the fridge for 3 minutes ultimately unsuccessful there too. They’re not really watching you like a hawk, but you feel that pressure just the same.

Now some adults living at home get out of the house when job searching just to – well – get out of the house! Maybe a library, maybe a resource centre for the unemployed, maybe even a coffee shop with wi-fi where for a couple of coffees one can sit undisturbed with strangers who could care less what you’re doing on your laptop for a few hours.

Of course it’s tough on parents too, wanting their adult children to be successful not only in finding a job but in being out on their own – which they equate with them finding their happiness. Ultimately that’s what all involved want isn’t it? Happiness. Job searching and living at home with ma and pa; for many folks it’s now the norm.


So You’ve Reached A Plateau

It can happen at any level in an organization right from an entry-level job through middle management and right up at the top position in the entire organization; the plateau. You know, that sudden realization that you’re not making progress. It can be good or bad depending on your personal situation and it can be short-lived or go on for a long time.

For some the plateau is a dreaded thing; the creative juices have dried up, the muse no longer whispers in your ear, the ideas you’re cranking out are coming slower and the ones you produce are borrowed more than original. You’ve hit the wall, the ceiling – call it what you will but you’re no longer the employee on the way up; your stagnating… Well that’s one way to look at things.

Then again, you may have been overworked, strained to the limit and close to burning out and what others might see as negative upward movement you’ve come to perceive and appreciate as a period of traction. You can hold your own where you are now and while you’re not progressing at the moment, you’re refilling your tank, re-energizing your batteries etc. and when you’re ready can once again find the stamina for another climb on the corporate ladder. This plateau period is a welcomed period of calm… A second way to look at things.

Here’s another perspective; we’re human and as such have things which go on well beyond the walls of any organization we work within. Sometimes the life events we’ve got going on take precedence over our work priorities. For many of us we can handle the things which occur in our personal lives while functioning at a high level in the workplace. However, there are events which occur and impact us to varying degrees which demand our focus and attention; impacting therefore on our ability to contribute in the workplace the way we would like; the way we have.

At such times, the plateau or leveling off of our production is self-driven by choice. We do just enough to get by, pass on taking on additional projects and assignments that we just haven’t got the energy or time to commit to. This can be a healthy choice by design and the key is to perform at the level you’re at and not decline to a level that is detrimental to the team, department or organization as a whole.

The plateau is also something that can creep up on you unexpectedly. It’s when you pause in some moment of reflection and realize you’ve been coasting. Perhaps the job is one you know so well you can do it without much mental investment. You realize you’re going through the motions, the roaring fire that once burned inside is now a controlled burn with less intensity. In short, you’re consistent, comfortable, and you’ve leveled off.

In some organizations where the competitive edge is critical, they’d view this leveling off as dead weight. They need hungry workers who come to work yearning to make the big sales everyday, produce the next best thing or push to exceed their targets which only last week were achievements to be proud of.

So what’s up? Are you stuck and miserable as a result or are you content and happy to be where you are by choice; not wanting or needing to reach for more?

Not everyone has what it takes to move up to the next level in the organization and many organizations make the fatal mistake of simply promoting people based on the number of years they’ve been with an organization.

If you’re hopeful of making it to the next level where you work you would be well-advised to look at the skill requirements – not for you job but for the job you wish to aspire to. Look objectively at your skill set and find where you’re lacking. What do you need to develop and master in order to position yourself for the future? Who do you need to cultivate a good working relationship with and get better known by? How are you going to move from the circles you’re in now to those new ones? Are you going to be able to hang on to what you’ve got now and add more to your plate or not and if not, what are you prepared to let go of to get more?

The plateau you’ve landed on might have been a welcomed accomplishment in the past of course. However, if you find you want more and are ready for what’s next, it almost always involves the inclusion of one basic necessity; effort. Yep, you’re going to have to put in the effort to get beyond what you’re currently doing. This effort might mean heading back to school outside of your workplace, or taking a year off to get that certification you need. Could be that your work pays all or part of the cost of training or you have to make the investment yourself.

It might mean overtime too, coming in early, doing some of the mental or physical work beyond what you’re accustomed to. Maybe it’s more travel, assuming some leadership on projects etc. So how bad to you want to leave the plateau?

Could be too you’re out of work entirely and have hit a plateau where looking for work is too much effort. Plateaus are not reserved for the working.


Is It Necessary To Love Your Job?

So what do you think; yes or no?

There are people who have as long as they can remember, always wanted to ‘be’ whatever the job is they now hold. They told their moms and dads, aunts and uncles, “When I grow up I’m going to be a ______” and they never deviated from that goal. It’s not that they didn’t learn about other jobs and careers, it’s just that as they did so, whenever they compared the pros and cons of those jobs to their previous goal, they always chose the original one.

If you’re one of these folks, I sure hope that the work you do as an adult is bringing you all the joy and happiness that you imagined it would. It wouldn’t be the end of the world to change your career goal as you mature and possibly discover new interests and develop new skills that lead you in other directions. However, it would be quite sad if for some reason you found the job you’d fell in love with was much more attractive in thought rather than reality and you’ve done nothing to alter your career path.

The experience I’ve described; knowing from a very young age what you wanted to do in life and realizing that dream is the experience of a minority of people I imagine. I mean it’s far more likely that as we grow up and become more and more exposed to different kinds of jobs the likelihood that our interests catch fire with things we previously didn’t consider is high. Yes, for most of the general population, we not only become exposed to different careers and jobs, we imagine what they would be like to hold down personally, and from time-to-time we pursue these because they are more attractive than the jobs we hold.

But love? I mean with a capital, “L”? Is it necessary to Love your work in order to be and feel successful? Is it possible to do a job well and be paid a good wage but not be passionate about the work itself? Sure it is. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that there are a great many people who are good at what they do precisely because the money is good but, love their job? No way. So why would they stay in these jobs they don’t love? Uh, that would be because the money meets their needs and they can do the work required, so like Meatloaf the singer belted out, they’ve come to feel that 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

You have to appreciate and be happy though for the ones that have it all; a perfect 3 for 3. They perform their work extremely well, the money they are paid meets their wants and needs, AND they love the work they do. Boy are they lucky eh? (For my international readers, adding, ‘eh’ to the end of a sentence reveals me as a true Canadian! It’s kind of our way of saying, “you agree with me right?” or “you get it right?”)

Ah but wait; is it luck or is it that they’ve put in the work and made the decisions necessary that put them in the right position to take advantage of the opportunities Life brought their way? I suspect it’s the latter not the former. It might look like they got lucky but actually it meant being focused, making good decisions and when faced with problems and challenges they found ways to overcome those through hard work and always keeping their end goals in mind whenever they felt like giving up. Yes, I suspect they’d say luck had very little to do with their success.

So now I pose a question to you; if you’re not in love with your work, are you content to go on with things the way they are or, for you personally is loving what you do important enough that you’re prepared to actually DO something different to bring about change? Change after all is what’s required if 2 out of 3 isn’t good enough.

You can take the position that in 2017 jobs are so hard to come by you should just take whatever you can and love for your work is a thing of the past. If you believe that, I’m sorry to say that I personally feel you’re wrong; your own experiences may have jaded your view of things. The way I see it, there are 7 hours a day in a full-time job x 5 days in a traditional work week x perhaps 49 work weeks in a year for a total of 1,715 hours a year you’re on the job. That’s a lot of time to be occupied doing something you love doing or just endure. If you’re not in agreement that finding work you love to do is worth seeking out, you’re taking the position that 49 weeks of enduring work is a good trade-off for 3 weeks of doing what you love on your vacation. You really buy that?

So do you HAVE to LOVE your work? Absolutely not.

Or, is loving what you do; really LOVING what you do going to elevate your happiness and personal satisfaction making those 49 weeks and 1,715 hours a pleasurable experience? Absolutely yes.

Are you prepared to put in the work to bring about the change from your present circumstances to realize the job you’d LOVE to do? This my reader, is THE question.


Consider Sharing Your Condition

Yesterday I sat down with someone I’ve recently been helping to find employment.  It was a very productive meeting of just over two hours in length, and the reason it was so productive is we got well beyond the surface chatter quickly. As you’ll soon read, the time was apparently right for her to make a trusting disclosure.

We’ve just completed a couple of weeks in others company as she was one of 12 people invited to attend an intensive job searching program; the kind where those attending actively job search for much of the day with the guidance of myself and another Employment Counsellor.

One of the key things I stressed throughout the two weeks was the element of trust. When you trust someone who is in a professional position to provide help, opening up about your personal barriers can be profitable. The problems you’re experiencing may be similar to ones that others before you have had, and there is a chance that whomever you trust your challenges with just may have some viable options to lay before you to consider; one of which might just address your problem.

In the middle of the 2nd week, this particular lady mentioned that although she found it embarrassing, she wanted me to know that she was hard of hearing in both ears and was wearing a very well hidden hearing device. This explained a lot. Suddenly I looked at her differently; not badly you understand. No I looked at her and taking a few seconds to process this new information,  it helped me to re-evaluate what I’d previously experienced and as a result come to wonder about.

English you see, is not this person’s first language. It’s quite good in my opinion, and I can easily carry on a long conversation with her without ever misunderstanding her words, but she herself feels her English needs improvement. Where you and I hear someone speak and respond quickly to their questions, she hears a question and then translates the English to her native tongue in her head, knows what she wants to say and then translates it back to English as the words leave her mouth; all in a matter of seconds. That’s impressive; well to me at any rate. However, those few extra seconds required to perform all this sometimes have her concerned that she appears slow or unsure of herself.

In addition to the process I’ve just described for you however, she also has diminished hearing, and so she’d often ask for questions to be repeated, especially if the speaker was facing her or spoke very quietly – and speaking quietly was something I’d been doing when working with her one-on-one with the others present in the same room. Aha! My lower voice when speaking quietly off to her left or right meant she didn’t grasp all the words I spoke; she was only getting a portion of the sentences which led to the requests for repeating myself and the turned head to face me as I spoke quite often.

Her fear in revealing this condition was twofold; one she’s a proud woman and doesn’t want to appear weak and two she’s afraid that as a Receptionist or Administrative Assistant, she’d be discriminated against for having hearing loss.

We talked about this condition and here in Ontario we’re fortunate enough to have organizations like the Canadian Hearing Society. This is a fabulous organization who helps people just like her in a number of ways. They have employment programs specifically to help job seekers with hearing loss. They have devices that can amplify phone calls and most importantly help people come to speak with assertiveness when sharing their condition. So I put her on to them for help.

We also talked about the idea of if and when it might be appropriate to share with an employer her hearing condition. This she could do at the application stage in a cover letter, at the outset of an interview, or towards the end of the interview after having just proved she could carry herself well throughout the conversation. Her fear of course is that the employer might discriminate as I say and she’d be out of the running for a job. But, as I said, how long would she last if the employer didn’t know and it appeared in the first few days that this new hire needed so much repeated? Maybe it would be better to miss an opportunity during an interview than to be hired and then let go by keeping things to herself.

Another idea I floated was just telling the interviewer during that, “Tell me about yourself” question that she has a slight hearing loss and that looking directly at her when speaking and speaking clearly would be very much appreciated. A small plaque on her Reception desk if hired saying pretty much the same to anyone who approached her would also make things easier.

The option of whether or not to share what you perceive as a liability or disability is a personal one. I’d be very interested – as would I’m sure others reading this – in hearing from you if you’re experiencing something similar. What’s been your experience? When we open up and share this way, not only are you helping yourself,  you’re helping others.

So I ask you my reader, if you’ve disclosed your own condition, how did you do so, at what point, and what was the result?

Going Through Tough Times?

In my professional job as an Employment Counsellor, most of the people I interact with and serve are looking for a job. It might be their dream job, a secondary job or a job to replace the job they have at present. This much they have in common along with one other basic truth; they all have tough times, problems, barriers (call them what you will) that they are experiencing in addition to looking for work. What differentiates them is how they react to these.

Now I would think it safe to say that most people would like the tough times to be shorter. The person who lost their licence to a drunk driving charge wishes the pardon process was faster. The guy without a car wishes there was some way he could get to those organizations hiring people who happen to be located far from public transit routes.

Problems; who doesn’t have some? Some are bigger than others and some tend to come and go while others seem to hang around seemingly forever. And honestly, while some folks deal with one big problem, others live with numerous smaller problems that seem to multiple whenever one gets taken care of.

The thing about tough times is that they test us; they test our ability to see them for what they are and they test us for how we react to them; deal with them or not by choice. And make no mistake, I’ve come to believe we have a choice in how we respond to the problems before us. Not everybody likes to hear they’ve got a choice; especially those who feel they don’t have one for that makes it easier for them to continue not to work on their problems.

Why is it that some of us deal with the same challenges better than others? Does it perhaps come down to some of us are just better skilled at handling these issues than others? Maybe that’s so because I often see multiple people with the same issues taking very different approaches to their problems and having extremely different outcomes. You might say to yourself, “Nobody has the problems I do”, but I suspect there are many who do have the same problems you do. That’s not really the point though is it? You have your problems and I acknowledge at the moment they are yours personally.

First off I suppose you have to decide whether you want to live with your problems or choose to work through the problems and eventually leave them behind. If you opt to live with your problems you likely will; they will become part of who you are forever. If you opt to leave them behind, you work daily to resolve them and develop the skills needed to overcome them.

So why is going through tough times so excellent? There are two reasons actually. One is the two key words, ‘going through’ in that previous sentence, and the second is you’re going to have some incredible skills to acknowledge with a story to tell when you emerge free of the tough times. In short, you’re going to feel better in the future and feel stronger, prouder, more confident about yourself soon, and this tough time is going to prepare you for tougher times ahead.

Seeing a problem for what it is instead of what you imagine it to be is a critical first step in problem solving. Honestly it’s critical because often what we imagine the problem to be makes the problem bigger and this can make it daunting to even contemplate overcoming. Name it and if need be, check out what you perceive it to be with someone you trust to share your problems with. They don’t have to offer you solutions or give you advice, you’re only asking them to hear you out and see if you’ve correctly identified the problem for what it is.

Next, determine what skills you have and if you are qualified to tackle this problem with what’s at hand. If you find you’ve got all the tools you need to fix a problem then your only decision is whether or not you want to fix it. If you find yourself lacking in the skills needed to fix an issue, you’ll need to acquire the skills required yourself or bring in someone with those necessary skills and weigh the cost of doing so.

When you do work through tough times, you emerge into a period where the worst is behind you. Things feel brighter, the load is lighter to bear and whatever you did to work through those tough times stays with you; you’re now better equipped to use the same skills in the future if and when similar challenges spring up. Next time, you’ll be better equipped to identify the problem faster and work on the solution with more enthusiasm because you’ve done so before. In short, you’re evolving, learning and putting your past experiences to good use as you strive to work through whatever has occurred.

Whether your professional or personal life, the memories of how you’ve overcome are important to recall, and remembering how you overcame them means remembering how formidable the problems seemed at the time. Hence the advice to not forget your past problems but focus on celebrating how you overcame them.

Dark or tough times aren’t fun to be sure, but they sure add vivid contrast to the good times to come.