Just in case you think this read is all about retail and having some inventory blow out just so the company has fewer items to count at year-end, it’s not. What it is about has to do with taking stock of yourself; what you accomplished, what new skills you acquired in 2016 and how you’ve grown. Ah so now you can read on and scroll down or click on the close button because maybe you were really looking for an article on counting inventory? Yeah, sorry about that.
Not many people I know really sit down and pause to think and reflect about how they themselves have changed over the passing of the year. Yes I agree many will think about the passing year in some respect; the well-known people who passed away, the top 10 lists, the material possessions they’ve come into and maybe the big events like a marriage, the birth of a child or hitting some big number on their birthday.
Let me give you some things to ponder and reflect on with the passing of the year to shift your thinking to what I’m referencing:
- What new skills did you develop at work?
- Name two things you learned
- What did you do to address an area you’re weak in and did you improve?
- Name 3 moments of triumph and success this past year
- Small or big, name a risk you took no matter the outcome
- Name someone you welcomed into your network
- Recall 2 or more ways you shared your skills with at work with someone new
I find that although I am constantly meeting with and working with some very talented people, those very same individuals don’t often give themselves the credit they deserve. Beneath a very thin layer of outward confidence, they have a fragility that is rooted in self-doubt and uncertainty. This is manifested in comments or questions they’ve voiced out loud to me but in relative privacy like, “I’m not as good at that as you are and I should be shouldn’t I?” or “I goofed up big time so I won’t try that again.”
The benefit of the year-end inventory on a personal level is to recall moments of development over the year and in so doing, give yourself credit for growing, maturing or developing. Afraid you might recall some moment of failure and actually feel worse off? To fail my friend means you attempted something; risked something and that in and of itself is not a bad thing. If you failed, focus on two things; your willingness to make the attempt and what you may have learned from the outcome so in the future you can make further attempts but with your new-found knowledge work to a different outcome. When you do this, you’ve not failed but succeeded in acquiring new knowledge.
One of the easiest things to do when we are thinking about professional development is to recall the training events we attended. So you add a certificate course to your resume or the big conference you attended. However, I know a lot of people who go to many conferences and leave having hardly uttered a word to anyone; having only a passing interest in the topic and never bothered to take notes. Sure they were there physically, but I’d contest that attendance as a moment of development.
So think deeper than just courses you took. Recall moments where you had a breakthrough with someone you were imparting a new skill to. When you think about that moment when they gained that new skill or demonstrated that they did indeed get the point you were making, think of how you accomplished that. What words did you use? How did you get through in that moment when you had been less than successful only moments before? What will you do in the future when in similar situations to repeat that success and pass on more ideas in the future to others?
There are many ways to give yourself credit which builds on your self-confidence and proves you are continually developing. Maybe you discovered the value in listening more attentively to people when in the past you would have finished their sentences, been uncomfortable with silence as they struggled to think of a word to express how they are feeling. When you bit your tongue and allowed the pause to linger, it was them not you who discovered words to express themselves and they were the better for it as were you for allowing that moment of self-discovery.
To do this exercise come back to it 4 or 5 times in a quiet space where you can think in peace and for goodness sake don’t make this a mental exercise only; write things down. The benefit in writing things down is you can access these positives anytime you want. Accessing these statements of growth, development and accomplishments reminds us of skills we have, the good we are doing and has the overall effect of boosting our assertiveness because we have the necessary evidence.
This is not an exercise in boasting, bragging or self-indulgence. You’ve no doubt much to be proud of in 2016 and this is the process of taking stock of these moments so they don’t get lost and forgotten. When you can recall these things you know your value and that’s a healthy thing to carry with you always.
Try it out.