When was the last time you celebrated your achievements?
Today, we are going to make time to celebrate your achievements. Every time I watch award shows I look forward to the lifetime achievement awards category. They typically dedicate some time to look back at what the person has achieved and highlight some results. Until it's your time to be honored on a major stage, start celebrating yourself on your stage. You might feel like you haven't achieved a lot - I beg to disagree. We achieve small, medium and big things every single day and don't even recognize them. When you start acknowledging your achievements, your perspective on your experience changes.
In this post, we will discuss some practical tips as well as the benefits of tracking and celebrating your achievements. Generally, achievements and accomplishments are used interchangeably in this post. Also, I would like to share the great research done on this topic see the "Great Resources" section at the end of this post.
What are achievements/accomplishments?
My favorite dictionary definitions are:
What are the benefits of tracking your achievements?
With the help of your achievement log you can:
How to celebrate your achievements
Let's explore five simple ways you can start celebrating your accomplishments today.
Create your achievement log
As with every great thing we do, we want to be able to refer to it. Make it a practice to write down your achievements. Document the situation, your contribution and the results. Being able to review your achievements and share them provides you with a boost and motivation to do more. Some great places to share your achievements log include your CV/Resume, LinkedIn profile, and all relevant platforms. Also, include quotes from the positive feedback you received from your clients, colleagues or boss. Valuing your achievements coupled with having trusted people confirm them is huge.
Know your achievements and talk about them
Especially in your professional life, there are key events when you are asked about your successes and contributions. You want to have them readily available to share. Your achievement log will serve this purpose and help you prepare for yearly performance review, an interview, a request for a pay raise, promotion request or introduction to a new project team. Now when someone asks you what your most significant achievement is, you have a quick place to look, and you can confidently share.
Track metrics and results
As you make progress every day, you want to make sure you capture metrics as well as the positive results you have contributed to. For some reason, people respond very well to achievements that are quantified and have positive results. Read about your industry standards on metrics that matter and track them. With the help of relevant metrics, it's easy to measure your progress and track accomplishments.
Review your achievements regularly
Are you looking for a boost or motivation? Reviewing your achievements will give you a confidence boost. Set aside time at the end of every week and month, to review your accomplishments and highlight the results that stand out. Your log should be a living document. Remember to add new achievements and update old ones with relevant information.
Celebrate milestones along the way
The end goal is important, however achieving critical milestones on your way is even more significant. Celebrate the small milestones as well. Especially when the results are not visible for a long time, it is important to celebrate small achievements along the way. The fact that you are still on your journey is a significant accomplishment. For example, completing a module on your way to your masters is an accomplishment. It might look small to you, but you are one step closer. You did it!
Where do you put yourself on your list of priorities?
As women, we prioritize being great partners, wives, mothers, members of families, employees, business owners. We prioritize everyone's welfare and often neglect our needs. At recent events I attended, self-care has been a reoccurring topic. The urgency and need to have open conversations about self-care is imminent.
This past week I had a routine check-up with my doctor, and she reminded me that while I try to be there for everyone in my life, I need to prioritize self-care. We can only be our best when our self-care is on point. This blog post is an appeal for you to prioritize self-care and a personal reminder for me. I like the way HBR put it: "At the heart of self-care is your relationship and connection to self.
What is self-care?
Let’s start with some definitions of self-care:
Benefits of Self-care
When you prioritize self-care, you reap many personal benefits such as:
Six self-care Tips
Some simple ways to start practicing self-care today include:
Discover your definition of self-care
Firstly, it's essential to find out what self-care means to you. During my research for this post, I came across very different interpretations or recommendations for self-care. Not all of them necessarily resonated with me. I realized that my definition of self-care differs from others. For example, learning is part of self-care for me, as it provides me the sense of fulfillment that I need. Spend time with yourself and discover what works for you. How do you take care of yourself?
A key self-care pillar is appreciating who you are, where you are today and celebrating your achievements. Acknowledging the wealth of skills, strengths, talents, knowledge, and experience that you already have empowers you. It is more natural to dwell on what you don't have or don't do well. That practice drains out your energy and is not an effective way of caring for yourself. How different would you feel if you build yourself up instead of tearing yourself down? Start valuing and celebrating yourself now.
Guard your resources
You have valuable resources such as your brainpower, energy, time, money and others which are limited. What are you doing to protect your limited resources? Are you applying your resources towards beneficial activities and avoiding waste?
I always thought I had no problem with saying "No" to requests that are not beneficial. After feeling overwhelmed with all that was happening in my life, I started learning that I wasn't saying "No" enough to the big things that impacted my life negatively. Once I started saying "No" to the right things I felt free of the commitments I made that weighed me down. Putting myself first and knowing how to guard my limited resources, freed up time to concentrate on what mattered more on my journey.
Enjoy the simple things
Have you been waiting for that big vacation or big event that will bring you joy? Consider going back to the small things that made you happy. If you enjoy reading, cooking, traveling, exercising, handcrafts or more - make time to do them.
Recently in a conversation with my friend I was telling her about how I missed doing some of the little things I enjoyed. I could not remember when last I saw a movie because I wanted to. So, I took the step and watched one of my choice. It might sound really small but to sit and enjoy the moment helped me feel refreshed for my week ahead.
Maintain the connections that matter
When last did you connect deeply with the people that matter in your life? We need the people in our lives. In our world where we communicate mainly through social media, we think to like a picture someone posted shows them we care. Do you know what is going on with your real friends and family?
I recently started reconnecting on a personal level with my circle. It's been life-changing to share our real experiences with one another, not the superficial things we share on Facebook or Instagram.
Schedule time to check in with yourself regularly
How is your relationship with yourself? Typically, when we get overwhelmed, it is a sign of us not being in touch with ourselves. Feeling stuck is often a sign that we have failed to evaluate what we need and cater to our need. How often do we get to spend quality time with ourselves? Make it official - schedule time with yourself to reflect on where you are, where you are headed and what you need on your journey. A few months ago, I started making time on Sunday evenings to order my thoughts. It has helped me get in touch with myself and identify areas where I need to re-adjust.
Do you have a professional network?
Your network is a valuable asset on your professional journey. To rise to the next level professionally, you need to connect to a community of professionals. Especially if you live in a new country, you probably lack the network that locals might have. The good news is that you can build a professional network at any phase of your journey.
Are you jaded from hearing about networking and building networks? There is a way to make it work for you. In this post, I will share my experience and eight strategies I have applied to develop my professional network.
Although my career started in Germany, I didn't learn the value of building a professional network until I moved to the US. When I moved here, I had no connections, the business culture was very different, and I didn't have any professional references. I quickly realized that I needed to prioritize building my network to grow professionally. I identified the first steps and started building my network. Some of the activities that have helped me so far include attending events at least once monthly, growing my LinkedIn connections, taking classes and volunteering. My network has provided great benefits such as vast industry knowledge, referrals to new opportunities, mentoring and sponsorship. Till today, I am still building my professional network.
Why should you have a network?
There are many benefits of a professional network, such as:
How to grow your network
Let’s discover practical strategies you can apply to build your professional network.
Define your objectives for your network
When you are building your network, it is essential to be clear on what you want to get out of it. Do you want access to a forum to discuss industry trends, opportunities for personal growth or more? With a clear objective, you will be able to build a network that provides you with what you need. For example: if are you looking to get a new job you should prioritize connecting with people who work at your desired companies. Also, as your objectives change over time, make sure you re-evaluate your needs at every phase of your journey.
MC's Tip: Your network can provide you more than your next Job. Look for other benefits you can derive from your network.
Prioritize your offline network
In a world where we communicate mainly online, we tend to neglect our in-person network. It is vital to develop and value your offline network as well. 1 in four people don't network at all (Source: [Infographic] – 6 Statistics On Networking And Steps For Future Success). Make sure you are building in-person connections. Relationships that begin offline tend to be more successful than purely online relationships.
MC's Tip: When you meet people, remember to make a great first impression.
Develop your online network
As a professional woman, you should actively grow your professional networks platforms that are relevant in your line of business. Personally, LinkedIn has been the platform I have invested in developing over the past three years. Statistics show that 51% of people don't have LinkedIn profiles - the number is higher with female professionals (Source: [Infographic] – 6 Statistics On Networking And Steps For Future Success). If you don't have an up to date profile on a professional network, start building one. I was extremely proud to see an eighteen-year-old lady in my network on LinkedIn.
MC's Tip: Don't shy away from sending invitations to people you don't know. Add a personal note if possible. Remember it's about growing your network. Also, ask people you trust to make introductions. I learned that when I reached out and asked people in my network if they knew anyone in a particular field, they were willing to share and connect me with people they knew.
Prepare your professional portfolio
When you communicate with your network, you want to ensure that you have your portfolio ready. You should be able to express who you are professionally and what your goals are. In my blog post Building your professional portfolio, you can find some personal insights on how to build your professional portfolio.
MC's Tip: Depending on the norms in your Industry equip yourself with the professional tools. Always have your business card, project portfolio, website, LinkedIn profile ready to share.
Contribute to your network
It has been proven that we get more value from our network when we give. If you only take from your network, you will lose the impact of your network. Don't you get tired of people who reach out to you to ask for a recommendation or favor but who haven't given back to you or other people in your network? We don't want to be those people.
MC's Tip: Think of what you can give not only want you can receive. We all have something to offer our network. For example, you might be able to provide industry knowledge.
Attend networking events
Find events around topics you are interested in and attend them. At a lot of the invents I attend I see a deficiency of women and even less women of color. Let's get out there, learn and make the connections. Personally, I commit to attend at least one event every month round a topic that inspires me. In my post How to get the most value from Events, I shared practical activities that will help you benefit from the networking events you attend.
MC's Tip: Make time to attend events. Even when you are busy, you want to ensure you are still making time to network.
Volunteer at organizations
Think about giving your time for a cause you support and getting something in return. If there are professional networks in your industry, make it a point to join them. One of the first steps I took when I moved to the US was to join my local Project Management Institute volunteer management team. Volunteering helped me to extend my network and meet a lot of great project managers.
MC's Tip: Volunteering is a fun and committed way to grow your network and give back. Join an organization and start volunteering.
Maintain your connections
Last but not the least, as with every relationship you need to maintain your network. A few months ago LinkedIn added a feature that reminds you to connect with someone you haven't interacted with in a few years. Why wait to be reminded? Start reconnecting with people in your network. I recently started reconnecting with people I haven't connected with in a while on a weekly basis. It's been a great way to revive dead connections.
MC's Tip: Reconnecting with people in your network will keep your network alive. Reach out to selected people in your network on a monthly basis.
“Although my journey was not always smooth, so much good came out it” – MC
On my trip to Germany last month, i had the opportunity to retrace some of my steps. I’m excited to continue telling my story with the third chapter of my relocation journey to Germany. Year six to ten were very eventful to say the least. The theme of this phase was "I have to make this work for me." After so many ups and downs it was time for me to start having more success. In these years, there were significant milestones, achievements, and experiences. Everything seemed to happen so quickly compared to the previous five years.
In this post, I'll continue sharing my experiences on my relocation journey as well as ten tips to help you be successful on your journey. If you missed my previous posts in the My Life in Germany series, you could read about Year 1 - 2 and Year 3 -5.
A scary new start
It's early 2007, I'm now in a new city and studying at a new university. My move to Trier was a logical but tough decision. I felt very far from everything I had built over the past five years. In the first months, I had to overcome my feeling of loss and start building my new life. In no time, I made progress in school, found great jobs and made new friends. Thinking back on my time in Trier, I'm reminded of the great results that come from taking a bold step and making a change.
I'm going back home to Nigeria
After six years of trying to make it work, I convinced myself that Germany was not for me and that it was time to go back to Nigeria. Financial difficulties and not making progress with school triggered my decision to move back to Nigeria. In summer 2007, I started making plans to leave Germany. I felt like it would be easier to start a new life in Nigeria and that I would make more progress there. Within two months I went from deciding to leave, sharing my thoughts with my close friends to choosing to stay and make Germany work for me. I appreciate all the support I got during this time that helped me stay. My journey would have been very different if I went back.
Determined to continue and make it
Following my decision to stay in Germany, I found new energy to chase my dreams. It felt like I had made a decision that would help me start seeing the results I wanted in life. The bumps in the road made me more determined to succeed. I had an idea of where I wanted to be, I made plans and started working towards them. I was extremely focused and knew what motivated me. It felt like a rebirth - I knew I had what it took to overcome future challenges.
Discovering my passion for Project Management
During my Internships in university, I found my love for project management. Internships at IT project management offices in a bank and an airline set an excellent foundation for my career choice. I chose project management and would never look back. The flexibility to work in different teams across different industries was a plus. I'll share my experiences as a project manager in another post.
Completing my first degree
In 2010, after many years of tears, going to two universities and changing my course three times, I finally graduated with a Bachelor's degree. I enjoyed academic success because I was studying something I could apply, and I had learned my way of learning. My journey to my degree was long and tumultuous but, in the end, I made it. Interestingly, I knew this was not the end of my academic journey.
Starting my first full-time Job
It’s autumn 2010; I'm in Cologne, working at a digital agency and enjoying life. My first job was amazing. I was earning money, working with a great team on exciting projects. There were many learning experiences in my first year. Being a project manager was absolutely right for me. Thankfully, the discipline I learned from working part-time while I studied helped me adapt to my new Job easily.
Continuing my education
After six months of working full-time, I started studying for my Masters in Business Information Systems. It was important for me to continue my education to improve my career opportunities. Working full time and studying, taught me how to manage my time. My evenings and weekends were fully dedicated to working towards my Master's degree. The foundation for my mindset of continuously learning was laid.
I'm happy, working, enjoying life and then I have a health challenge. All of my life I had enjoyed excellent health, so this was a very new experience for me. My first surgery and stay in the hospital became part of my journey. Spending six weeks on bed rest, I learned to respect and take care of my body. In this time, I learned the importance of allowing your body to heal. My fantastic community rallied around me, took care of me and gave me space. I got better, went back to work, school and life. This became another unexpected challenge that I overcame.
Our family grew
I can't tell my story without mentioning a significant milestone in my life. I became an aunt to my beautiful niece in summer 2011. I will never forget the first time I saw her. For the first time, I started thinking about what life skills I wanted to teach my little niece. She was the beginning of the next generation of strong women in my family. My family in Germany grew, and another anchor in my new country was set.
Feeling at home in Germany
Being born in Germany, growing up in Nigeria and now being back in Germany, I have always had an interesting view of my cultural identity and where my home is. It took me around seven years to start feeling like I could have a great life in Germany. It was a slow process that continued as I graduated and moved to Cologne. I'm sure that becoming a German citizen in 2011 also helped me feel more at home. Ten years after I arrived, I was now German, and Germany was my home.
10 Tips and Lessons