Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Success File

Focus: Career Management, Professional Success, Career Advanancement

Audio lesson: 2 min. 36 secs. 
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The Success File
Transcript - print now

Wc: 532
Read time: 1-2 mins. 

This lesson is what I call a really cool - Me, Inc. habit. Me, Inc. mean “Me, Incorporated,” first coined by management guru Tom Peters. Me, Inc. is an individual contributor who takes one hundred percent responsibility for the success of his or her career.
The tip I’d like to recommend to you today is to keep a success file. Now, that may sound a bit odd but really, it’s an ongoing collection of thank-you notes, e-mails written to you, comments made regarding either the quality of your work or someone’s experience with you in the job that you’re doing. 
And I’ve actually kept one over the years. I remember back when I worked for a Fortune 500 company and I inadvertently started doing this not even calling it formally a success file. 
But I used to get thank-you e-mails from my bosses and comments on special projects that I worked on from other members of different departments and even comments and cool e-mails from my peer colleagues. I would just print those off and put them in the file.
Sometimes I even got a thank-you note from a client or a media person that I was working with. And, you know, it’s funny, over the years, I still go back and read those so there are many benefits to keeping a success file. 
In the category of Me, Inc. and having a Me, Inc. mindset, one of the things that’s essential is being able to self-coach, and in self-coaching, to be able to motivate ourselves without relying on our manager or our corporate environment to do that for us. 
A great way of feeling and nurturing our motivation is to have that success file handy so that on those days when you just feel like you’ve blown it or you’re having an exceptionally challenging day, you can whip out that file and go through those comments and really gain perspective that you are a great, competent, individual contributor.
Here’s four benefits off the top of my head to this great Me, Inc. habit of having and maintaining a success file. First, you just get to encourage yourself on an ongoing basis. Secondly, it can be used as a useful reminder to yourself and to your boss at review times. Number three, it’s also useful for constructing a resume and it’s great to have those things on hand even in a job interview. 
And then, finally, honestly, even years later, you know, those comments still matter. Those past memories can fuel even current successes. Now that I have my own business and I’m an entrepreneur, honestly, I still go back to that file once in a while, from all those days back then, and review the comments that were made to me. And it helps on those days when running a business gets tough. 
It really is a great, useful habit to keep a success file. And by the way, if you’re a manager, let me recommend that you encourage your staff to keep their own success file. And you do your part to contribute to it.

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