I’m about to turn 29, which means two things;
1. My 20s are almost over
2. I’ve been in the workforce for almost seven years.
As I near the first decade of my career, I’ve got an itch. I’m starting to ask myself, ‘Have I done enough in my career so far?’ and ‘Will I be able to do more?’
It’s easy to minimize your work and accomplishments when you still feel like a young(er), less seasoned professional. I constantly feel like there’s so much more to learn and do in my career, and whatever I’ve done, it’s not enough.
This way of thinking can throw you into a negative tailspin really fast.
So, when I start feeling this way, I stop myself. Then I take a few minutes to look back and reflect on what I’ve accomplished so far in my career, either jotting down a list or reciting it in my head.
This is a great exercise to show yourself what you’ve achieved in a relatively short amount of time. It also helps you grasp what you can accomplish over a career and lifetime.
For instance, in 7 years, I have:
- Gone from making $9.50 an hour to six figures a year
- Traveled all over the world for work
- Established and grown the Rising Pro blog
- Uprooted my life, moving from Chico, Calif., to San Francisco to advance my career (and fulfill a childhood dream)
- Worked at four companies, including Llano Seco Rancho, EXL, MSLGROUP and Salesforce
- Served on three boards, previously The Boys & Girls Clubs and PRSA-SF, and currently YPOSF
- Planned and executed two Dreamforce events at Salesforce
The point of this list isn’t to gloat, it’s to build yourself up by showing evidence that you’re enough and that you’re going to continue doing great things if you keep going.
Once you make a list, thoughts like ‘I haven’t done enough’ or ‘There’s so much more to do’ turn into ‘I’ve accomplished a lot in my career so far’ and ‘I have the capacity to achieve my goals.’
The next time you’re feeling intimidated, discouraged or overwhelmed, I encourage you to simply stop, look back and reflect. It will boost your confidence and energy to keep moving toward your goals. If you’re just getting started in your career, or have a short list, start jotting down some goals to accomplish in the next 3-5 years and then get busy. In fact, I’m going to share mine with you now to keep me honest:
5 Year Goals
- Become a respected manager & leader
- Start a business or organization
- Help people advance in their careers for a living
- Write a book and get it published
- Serve on another board
- Learn a new language/technical skill, like coding or web design
- Take a sabbatical
- Live and work somewhere outside the U.S.
- Take time away from work to start a family of my own
I challenge you all to stop and reflect on your accomplishments constantly and to always keep rising no matter your age or stage in life.
Challenge: Compose a list of your main career accomplishments so far, as well as your goals for the next five years. Share below!