Are you feeling like a worker bee? Do you feel hard at work, always running from one goalpost to the next and yet not successful. Well it is time for a close look at not only what you are doing but how are you doing it. The question to ask yourself is how am I doing? Take a moment in between projects to sit back, assess your achievements and analyse whether you are accomplishing your goals or not.
Many of us make the mistake of benchmarking our sense of accomplishment so high that somehow we can never reach it or by the time we reach that milestone we have already set ourselves a higher and a higher goal. Spiralling ourselves into a cycle of hard work, but no sense of completion or accomplishment resulting in a low self esteem.
Not because you are not working hard, or working successfully but because nobody can ever reach the benchmark you have set for your own self. Unless we learn to periodically be "present" to our achievements we will never get a sense of completion or success. Success is defined as attaining a favourable outcome.
An outcome on the other hand is a measurable tangible consequence of an action given the circumstances an action is performed in. Thus to gauge our own success and build self esteem we need to benchmark it to a realistic measurable outcome. Once we do that we are able to nourish our self image, feel good about ourselves and move to the next goal in a more capable frame of mind.
As the new year is approaching, traditionally many of us will set new goals for ourselves, make new resolutions and prepare for the next year. However, a useful exercise that I would recommend is to
1. Catalogue the major projects that you performed this year
2. List the tangible evidence that would help you determine the outcome of those actions
3. Record the positive and the negative circumstances that helped or prevented you from doing your best on each of these activities.
Now if you balance the sheet of outcomes against the odds you will hopefully find that on some projects the end results have far outstripped your expectations in terms of concrete benefits. However, on other projects you were not able to make the most of the opportunities that came your way. Now in the final analysis make 2 declarations: in one document all your achievements for the year and in the other you list the challenges or growth opportunities of the year that has just gone by.
By creating such a feedback loop of achievement for yourself you will find that you emerge out of the year with a realistic sense of your capabilities and challenges. The clichÃ© goes that here is a fine line between arrogance and a realistic sense of self. But the line between self depreciation and a realistic sense of self is so huge that it almost looks insurmountable unless you make an effort to take a giant leap of faith in your own direction.
The author is Director of Career Track. The views expressed are his own and not that of Sify.com