Recently, I reminded a client of mine the important of self-reflection. She is doing an amazing job of being more visible in her company, connecting with key strategic leaders and getting involved in high-profile projects.
All good things, right? Well, the challenge is in about 6 months or even a year from now, is her manager or any senior leader going to remember everything she had done? Maybe, maybe not.
So what the problem?
I glad you asked, now let me explain why self-reflection is really important when it comes to your career and long-term career growth.
If putting your head done and working really hard is your only mode for getting to the next level, then you are missing the big picture. It’s easy to get caught up in being busy and leaving a trail of successes that even you can forget over time.
Your manager cannot and should not be expected to keep track of all your work accomplishments…sure, he or she should know what you are working on and be kept abreast of your key projects.
But when it comes to performance reviews, do you really want to solely depend on your manager’s memory?
I always remember working with a client several years ago who was able to negotiate a whopping 30% salary increase after we were able to carefully chronicle and quantify her work contributions.
She didn’t get a promotion and her title didn’t change, but what she was able to do was have leverage and negotiate better because of concrete facts.
I tell all my clients (and other professionals like you) to avoid failing themselves and their careers by hold 2-hour, monthly self-reflection meetings.
Use this time wisely to reflect on what they accomplished in the past month, lessons learned from their actions and interactions and areas for improvement.
It’s not about not having the time, it’s about making the time a priority. Any time spent in self-reflection about your career, your company contributions, your challenges is invaluable.
So, to help you get started, here are some recommendations:
- Schedule the meeting every month at same time and lock it in your calendar now. For example, every first Saturday at 10 am or every third Sunday at 2 pm, if carve out the time now, it’s easy to avoid making excuses later on.
- Buy a personal journal / quality notebook; if you are more tech savvy, create Word file on your computer or mobile device. Make brief, but clear notes of big incidents and career successes that stand out in your mind.
- Allow your mind to really absorb your successes and achievements.
- Did you achieve something never done before in the company?
- Did you take a stalled project and see it to completed with great results?
- Were you handpicked for a high-level initiative?
Don’t take your successes lights as they serve as an ongoing source for your strength, resilience and confidence during tough times.
- Don’t just focus on what went well, be willing to evaluate constructive feedback you got from others; and situations that didn’t work out well and what you learned from them.
- Identify what new skills you need going forward for career growth and stability. Has anything shifted in your company or your industry? Are there new projects coming up that will require new knowledge or expertise? How can you address them?
- Do everything in your power to never cancel, shift or repeatedly postpone your self-reflection meeting. Long-lasting personal and career success starts with you.
In the meantime, let me know what you think about scheduling a meeting with yourself. Have many of you do this on a regular basis? Does it help? What did you learn about yourself, your capabilities and your company?
And if you have not tried having such a meeting, would you be do so, it’s not too late to start in 2017.
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