Review Your Accomplishments

make your choice“The bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you refuse to make the turn.” – Helen Keller

Oh, it’s always easier to be the Monday quarterback and see what you might have done, could have prepared better or managed under challenging circumstances. The reality for most of us is that we could always do better and that we beat ourselves up over the “shoulda, woulda, couldas” in life. Hopefully we learn from the experiences and add these new insights to the mini-arsenal of skills needed to succeed or sometimes just survive in the future.

Job loss can be an exceptionally demanding time for anyone. A serial entrepreneur who made millions before losing it all and then creating success again related an idea which worked for him during particularly stressful times of uncertainty. What got him through the most difficult periods was a list that he kept with him at all times; a list of his accomplishments. In such circumstances, many of us refer back not to our list of plusses, but rather to our list of failures and what we don’t have, rather than recalling our successes and what we have done well. Like any behavior that we are willing to change, this became a beacon for him to refer to and remind himself that he was indeed a man of accomplishments.

What a terrific tool for any of us to use and how simple to create, carry and refer to! Who couldn’t benefit from a confidence booster and reminder of their potential? When was the last time you took time to review your life through the lens of success? Would you be able to list 10 of your accomplishments right now? Is your mind a complete blank? If you are stuck because you have yet to master the piano, publish a book or cure cancer, among other feats, I urge you to stop. Take this moment to sit down and make your own list. Some examples of accomplishments you might include are:

• I completed my college degree
• I have a successful marriage
• I have raised good and healthy children
• I have worked in a field that I love
• I started my own business
• I bought my first car, home, etc.
• I learned to play an instrument
• I have traveled to many interesting places
• I wrote a book, song or poem

Now that you have the idea, you can take it even further. Begin by creating a file in your computer or dedicate a notebook to being your accomplishment “basket” list holder, not to be confused with a “bucket” list. This is the expanded record of those things you have already done. Challenge yourself to get up to at least 15 examples and add more as you please. Remember, this list is infinitely expandable; a work in progress. Print it out, keep it with you at all times and refer to it daily or as frequently as you like. After all, this IS your track record of successes and no matter what you are experiencing at the moment, you have a solid list of accomplishments that is yours alone.


Stuck in First Gear

task4-300x225Watching is different than doing. Assuming you can execute from the perspective of observer is merely conjecture. Jumping out of an airplane without a parachute as you mimic the movements of a bird is foolhardy. What about driving a standard shift car because you’ve been a passenger in one, and by the way, it’s not a rental?

My boyfriend, later to become my husband, drove a Volkswagen bug everywhere. He and “Betsy” had a long relationship and I was relatively new to the scene. The car did have many miles on it and I had certainly been along for many rides, so I was somewhat familiar with its operation. However, I had only driven automatics until the day I had to borrow “Betsy” and needed to get some road time in quickly prior to going solo. He was more than patient as we bucked around a large parking lot and then onto a busy street, stalled out several times and continued for a few more blocks. He assured me I would get the hang of it and his confidence was contagious. He must have inspired me because I was not nervous as I set out the following morning in rush hour traffic enroute to an important job interview. Forgetting about fear or comfort zones, I was launched.

I would love to report that things went smoothly and that I never broke a sweat, but it would not be an accurate account at all. In fact, the car stalled more than once and I was indeed stuck in first gear too…more than once. Luckily there were no hills to manage and I quickly blocked out the various horns and yells from other drivers. In fact, I drove downtown and back without stripping the gears or damaging the car in any noticeable way.

For me, most important was the success of learning something quickly; prompted by necessity, as well as having the unquestionable support of my instructor in the process. Yes, he had been a passenger in my car many times and knew that I could be trusted to use good judgment. But it was also a leap of faith to allow me to practice on his beloved “Betsy”. He assumed I could do it and this gave me the additional confidence to get behind the wheel and go. What an accomplishment and what a terrific feeling afterward! Rather than being shaken by the early morning scenario, I was more self-assured at that job interview than I ever expected I would be. The energetic spill-over from managing my transportation successfully was palpable, empowering enough to decline the job offer and continue to look for a better fit.

• When have you done the thing you never thought you could do?
• Who supported your actions?
• What were the short and/or long term effects?
• How did you change as a result?

©2014 Maureen Weisner