How to feel good about your accomplishments at the end of the year

To be truly happy at work you need to feel good about what you have accomplished.  Sometimes we get so busy with our day to day work, we don’t have time to sit back to reflect.  Take the time!  Feeling fulfilled and happy at work means that you acknowledge yourself and others acknowledge you too.

Most years in December or January when I worked for AT&T my manager would ask me for a list of my accomplishments.  Even if my manager didn’t ask I gave him/her a list.  Since my manager had to write a yearly appraisal of my work, he/she needed to know what I had done during the year.  Left on their own I am sure they would have relied on the work I had done during the final quarter of the year – since it was fresh in their minds.  My list would cover the whole year.

That is not to say my memory was any better than theirs.  It took me about a year or so to realize that I needed to keep a running list of my accomplishments because otherwise many would be forgotten about – both by me and my manager.

Accomplishments are important to your career.  They appear on your resume so having a list going back a number of years is helpful when you want to update your resume.

If you are a business owner, it is good to take stock once or twice a year to see where you have been and what has changed.  First it is a chance to celebrate your successes and second it is an opportunity to re-evaluate where you want to take your business next year.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself to identify your accomplishments.

  1. Have you worked on a team that achieved measurable results? You’ll want to note what role you played on the team.  Perhaps you led the team, had budget responsibilities, or spearheaded a subgroup.  Always include the measurement if you have one – percentages, dollars, number of something (minutes for example).  People notice numbers.
  2. Have you solved a problem in an emergency situation? Did a client or customer came to you with an issue that was difficult to find a solution to or needed something to be done faster than usual?  Identify the problem and your solution.  Be sure to emphasize the difficulty of the problem or the speed with which you came up with the solution.
  3. Have you improved the operation of something in your office or department? Perhaps you’ve selected, purchased and installed a new software application that speeds the operation of a department function.  The overall success of the installation is an accomplishment as is getting the approvals necessary to make the purchase of the software.
  4. Have you made a sale or acquired a client that was a significant achievement for you and your company or firm? It is important to explain either in dollars or in words the importance of the sale to the company or firm.
  5. Have you taken a leadership role and been successful. Certainly growing a business or even keeping stable in this economy is a great accomplishment and if you were the leader making the decisions, you deserve the credit.
  6. Did you win an award or special recognition for a project or sale that you made? Here you will need to describe what the award was for and who gave the award.
  7. Are you consistently on time or early when meeting deadlines? If you are contributing to the efficiency of your company or firm, that is an achievement.  Look for evidence that others depend on your timeliness to complete a task or function.
  8. Have you led a project that came in on time and on budget? Again, numbers are helpful here.
  9. Have you identified a profitable new market for your firm or company to go after? Depending on the company you may have done the research for the new market or you may have developed the business and brought in a new customer/client with potential for ongoing business.  Either way you are adding to the bottom line of the company.
  10. Were you given added responsibility because of an expertise that you have that can benefit the company or firm? Are you a subject matter expert in some particular area?  You can explain how you are using this expertise to benefit the company.

What other questions would you ask yourself to uncover your yearly accomplishments?  Please post them!

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