Let me ask you this: do you sometimes get down on yourself? Feel bad about how things are going for you? Are you your own worst critic?
No matter how bad you feel about yourself, I can guarantee you: it’s not true. But that doesn’t mean you’ll believe me. Sometimes we need proof.
To stop that mean voice in your head, you need to see cold hard evidence that it’s not true.
Well, I have a simple strategy that I want to share with you. It’s called the “kudos file”. And here’s how it works:
Set up a label, category or file in your email called “kudos”. Every time you get an email praising you, telling you you did a good job, thanking you profusely, I want you to label that email “kudos”.
Every time you get praise verbally, I want you to send yourself a quick email relaying the convo and label it “kudos”.
Then, whenever you’re feeling a bit down on yourself, I want you to go to your kudos file and start reading. I want you to confront yourself with the evidence that you’re, in fact, pretty great.
There’s also a hidden benefit to the kudos file.
It really, really helps when it comes time to write your self-review for performance evaluations. You dread it every year. You can’t remember what you did unless it was in the last month or so.
But your kudos file will be waiting in the wings to to save you.
Now all you have to do to fill out your accomplishments is go read your kudos file and be reminded of all the great stuff you did this year. Easy peasy. No Herculean memory effort required.
Want to take this a step further?
I actually track both my successes (kudos) and growth areas on a weekly basis.
I have a spreadsheet with 2 tabs “Successes” and “Growth Opportunities”. Every week when I’m doing end-of-week planning I spend about 2 minutes noting anything that went great that week and anything that I think I could improve on.
I work for myself, so no one is giving me a performance evaluation. But, I still want to track my performance so I can improve.
By spending just a couple of minutes a week reflecting, I can double down on the good stuff, and see trends in terms of areas I might want to improve. One off-week of exercise is no big deal, but 3 in a row is a pattern and I know I might need to take some other measures to get me back on track.
In the wise words of Peter Drucker, “what gets measured gets managed”.
A couple of minutes of tracking a week helps ensure that I’m making progress. And it sure is nice to look at all those successes every once in while, especially in the weeks where it feels like there’s nothing to contribute to the successes list. Forcing myself to come up with at least one success and growth area each week also ensures that I’m being real with myself, and not letting my emotions get in the way of my progress.