What was a small but important professional moment of 2020?
Recently, I’ve been asking coworkers this question, and it’s helped us all refocus on the smaller moments of success we may have overlooked during the craziness of the last 12 months.
We’re always our own worst critics. In a tough year, it’s easy to focus on the professional milestones we missed: sales goals we didn’t hit, clients we lost, or promotions that didn’t happen. Perhaps your company restructured and you lost long-time coworkers, or maybe you found yourself unexpectedly furloughed and wondering what’s next. These moments can shake even the most confident professional.
I’ve also spoken with professionals who had banner years. Some feel guilty that they excelled while close colleagues struggled. Many are exhausted and burnt out from the intense pace of work and the abrupt compression of their personal lives, thanks to our new work-from-home reality.
No matter how you end 2020, taking time to reset and refocus is critical to starting the New Year with confidence. Here’s what I’m doing:
Revisiting smaller moments. I keep a small notebook with me wherever I go, jotting down the moments and people who inspire me. Every December, I look back through the year’s entries, writing out my own “year in review.” From more family meals at home to weekend walks with loved ones, these are the small moments of connection worth remembering.
I take a similar approach with work. Did I have a great conversation with a candidate about her professional goals? Was I able to help a coworker address a tricky client situation? Did a colleague share important career advice with me? Major milestones may not punctuate 2020, but we’ve still grown considerably as professionals, and it’s important to reflect on the moments that drove this growth. This annual review approach is also helpful when it comes time to update your resume or make your case for a raise. You’ll have a list of accomplishments – big and small – from which to pull.
Being honest about what went wrong. As Brene Brown says, we need to stand in our truth without shame. For me, this means candidly acknowledging where I fell short without letting this overshadow what I accomplished. There are times when I focused too much on work– I started to burn out. I want to be successful for my clients, my candidates and for myself. That sometimes can take too much of a front seat. Rather than dwelling on this failure or trying to ignore it altogether, I am working on better integrating my personal and professional lives when I work from home.
Framing pictures and mementos. Surprised to see this recommendation in a “year in review” article? Most of us didn’t celebrate the milestones or take the vacations we planned for this year. Rather than dwelling on what didn’t happen, let’s embrace what did. Getting photos off my phone and onto my home desk is a small act that’s had a major impact on my mood and energy levels. Looking back at previous years and remembering special moments is a huge mental boost on a long day. After all, it’s hard to dwell on missed opportunities when I’m filled with gratitude for what I have experienced.
What small moments shaped you this year? Where did you make an impact, and where do you plan to refocus your efforts next year?