It’s the middle of December. The year is nearly over.
And not just that - the decade.
This decade has brought about fundamental changes in my life.
In December 2009:
I was working in the National Crime Agency, just finishing the biggest project of my career.
I was living in gritty Camberwell, in South East London, in a house I shared with a friend.
I had been with my boyfriend for less than a year.
And I had only just found the cure to my chronic fatigue, which transformed my health - and my life.
Fast forward a decade:
I married my boyfriend, and we now have a six year old daughter. (I also gained three step-children and now four step-grandchildren at the same time.)
I live in a little village on the edge of the very pretty market town of Bury St Edmunds, in rural Suffolk.
And after re-training, I now have my own thriving business as a career coach, helping women find the work that lights them up, without struggling with stress on the way.
(The only thing that hasn’t changed: I am still healthy!)
That is a phenomenal amount of change.
I’ve gone from single to married; childless to a mother; urban to rural; a Government employee to an entrepreneur.
And I am very proud of what I have achieved:
the family I have built, including those elements I inherited;
the new life I've created in a strange place, including all my voluntary work raising £109k (so far) for a new community building for my village;
and the business I now run, and the people I've helped as a result.
We are not always comfortable focussing on our achievements.
It’s not “English”, it’s boasting, it’s arrogant.
But we all benefit from taking a step back from time to time to recognise how far we have come.
The change from one year to another (or even one decade to another) is, basically, meaningless.
It’s like birthdays - you’re really only one day older than yesterday.
But at this same time, it is also POWERFUL.
A symbolic trigger.
So take some time this week to think about what you’ve achieved in the last year - and the last decade.
You might want to try this process.
Make a list of all the things you are proud of.
If you want, you can divide it into a list for 2019, and a list for the decade (so this year doesn’t get left out!).
Come up with at least ten things for each.
Read through your list.
Close your eyes, and remember the moment when you achieved each individual goal.
Step into that feeling of achievement, success, excitement - whatever the feeling was.
Allow that feeling to build and rise inside you.
Give it a word; give it a colour.
Feel it flowing through every cell of your body.
To "anchor" something is to create a reminder of it.
So when you open your eyes, choose something to remind you of that feeling:
it might be writing that word on a piece of card and pinning it somewhere you will see it;
it might be finding a postcard, pen, or mug with the right colour on it, and putting it on your desk.
But find a visual anchor to that amazing feeling of achievement you had inside you. It will help motivate you in the year ahead.
Decide how you are going to celebrate these successes.
You might like to try a different way to celebrate each one: a hot chocolate on the way home; buying yourself some flowers.
Or you might decide that you are going to do one big thing to mark all your achievements: a special dinner out; some jewellery.
But choose a way to celebrate your successes.
If you do this, you will be giving yourself the opportunity to really register how far you come, and to give yourself the gift of the feeling of achievement.
Finally, looking ahead, you might like to start a “success journal”.
A few years ago, when my daughter was very small, I felt like I was never achieving anything.
Each day was a matter of survival - keeping her alive, keeping myself going.
So I started tracking my successes: I cooked a nice dinner; we had a fun trip to a baby singing group; I did the dry-cleaning.
They were only small achievements, but cumulatively they helped me feel a sense of progress and achievement, which transformed the way I felt about myself, and my life.
My scale is different these days: my daughter is thriving, and my life has expanded enormously.
But with so many different missions to balance now (mother, wife, coach, volunteer), it can sometimes feel like I am running on a hamster wheel and not making any progress.
I know this is only a PERCEPTION.
I am achieving a huge amount, all the time.
So to counteract it, for 2020 I am going to start a new “success journal”: writing down 1-3 things every night that I have achieved that day.
I love a bit of positive feedback, and this way I am regularly recognising my progress and celebrating it.
You might like to try the same.
By doing this - recognising and celebrating your successes - you are setting an amazing foundation for a successful year, and decade, ahead!
Next week we will be looking at the year past from a different perspective - turning from achievement, to gratitude.
I hope your pre-Christmas period is calm, happy and full of recognition of how far you’ve come!
p.s. if you'd like to be celebrating career success this time next year, get in touch!
Prices for my coaching are going to rise in January, but if you book an intro call before Christmas you can make the most of 2019 prices...
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.