One of the most common problems I struggle with both personally and professionally, is being able to gain some perspective on my personal development. This is hard to do at the best of times as I'm usually concentrating on current client work, but without some sort of record of achievements, it's nearly impossible to be accurate. Instead all comes down to vague memories that are often clouded by judgement.
We all set goals or create to do lists to get things done, but often once we have ticked these off, the achievement of getting them done is overlooked and forgotten. Before we know it we are onto the next thing and the steps that we took to get us here and the lessons we learned go by the wayside.
This really becomes an issue when we start to need some self-motivation. Fatigue kicks in and without seeing any progress or development, we begin to get disillusioned.
"Am I wasting my time?"
"What am I doing wrong?"
"I thought I would've achieved more by now"
"Could I have used my time more effectively elsewhere?"
Although it is good to regularly assess what you are doing, without having a tangible way of logging or judging your own progress, this negative self-talk can be devastating to our progress.
True mental strength is not about knowing what to think of to overcome any obstacle, but it's knowing what not to think of about in a time of crisis. Shutting out the negativity is the most effective strategy and this is what elite athletes, performers and soldiers rely on to make sure they get the job done under extreme pressure.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand.
The solution to finding a simple but effective way to acknowledge your achievements in times of crisis is 'The Jar of Awesome".
I have to thank the girlfriend of Tim Ferriss for this one. He mentioned it recently on his excellent podcast.
It works like this:
Every time you get something done that you are pleased about, this could be finishing a painful task on a to-do-list, achieving a small goal such as losing weight or something larger such as winning new business, write it down and pop it in the jar. When you are feeling demotivated, empty the jar and read the notes inside.
By regularly adding notes all the time, it teaches you to acknowledge and celebrate the small successes as they happen. Reading those pieces of paper is the perfect antidote to self doubt and it's been generated by you, nobody else. It's not some over the top speech or cheesy quote. It's written evidence. The pieces of paper will remind you of how successful you've been, what you've achieved and how far you've come.
An instant 'pick me up'. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.
This is my favourite jar in our house, second after Nutella obviously.