How much did you get done today?
Did you tick everything off your to-do list?
Were you giving 100% commitment and energy?
I wonder if the answer you give sounds like this:
“It wasn’t enough.”
Every day we set ourselves tasks and to-do lists, goals and targets. We relentlessly strive to ‘achieve’, trying to get things done faster as we lurch from one action step to the next.
As human beings we are driven by an innate need to succeed. That’s why ticking off a list feels great. We want to see progress and get really de-motivated when we think we’re not achieving.
I am a real sucker for needing to see progress and wanting it faster than it comes to me.
Having left full-time employment to work for myself in the last two years, I can be very hard on myself when my business isn’t growing at the rate I want.
“I’m obviously not doing enough,” I can hear the voice in my head saying.
But how much credit do you actually give yourself for what you achieve already? Do you ever stop to think about it?
Because if you’re not acknowledging the leaps you’re making, you’re not learning or growing. You’re holding yourself back instead.
After years of not feeling ‘enough’, I’ve identified four reasons I’ve not been giving myself the credit I deserve. Maybe you can relate:
How often do you actually stop to look back at all the things you’ve achieved?
I’m not just talking about your daily to-do list. I mean reallystepping back. Weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly, to truly reflect.
I know from my own experience it’s all too easy to write off a whole week, month or even year as ‘not good enough’ if I don’t take a moment regularly to acknowledge the wins both big and small.
Without a structured way to celebrate and an earmarked time in the diary, you’ll never even realise all the amazing things you’re doing.
Personally after years of feeling ‘not enough,’ I now try to make sure I reflect on my progress each week in a journal, as well as checking in regularly on the tiny steps I’m making towards my quarterly goals.
A gold star in a journal might feel silly to some, but it’s all part of the process of giving myself credit and acknowledging growth that helps to drive me forward.
Perfectionism is a killer when it comes to giving ourselves credit.
When I used to work in the music industry I put together international tours for orchestras. I would be responsible for moving sometimes 100 people around the world to perform concerts in new countries and reach new audiences.
But I could never take the credit, because the perfectionism always got to me.
The tour could have been better, it could have reached more cities, it could have made more money, it could have run more smoothly…. There was always something. It was never the perfect tour that I had in my head before I started.
Perfectionism not only holds us back from starting things. It also stops us celebrating when we have achieved them.
I’ve stopped my perfectionism getting in the way of starting things. Now I need to give it the boot when it comes to celebrating them too.
I recently read an article by UK comedian Romesh Ranganathanabout dealing with his inner critic.
In the article Romesh wrote something that really resonated with me and made me think about my own ability to take pride in my work:
The problem is, [the voice in my head is] bloody exhausting.
It also means that, while I very much enjoy creating things, I rarely enjoy them being performed, published or broadcast, for fear of some troll voicing exactly what my inner b*****d has been telling me all along.
This is exactly how I feel about anything I produce. I love planning it and working on it. But standing back and celebrating once it’s out there in the world? It’s so hard to do when the inner-critic is shouting loudly that it’s not good enough.
Learning to listen and acknowledge the inner critic, but limiting its air-time has been an important growth lesson for me in the last few years and still one I’m working on today.
Trusting ourselves and valuing our own thoughts and feelings over the beliefs of others is not something that comes naturally to many of us.
Throughout school and academia we submit work and receive back a grade or praise from a teacher. In employment we often seek out this praise too – in the form of bonuses, promotions and top-ratings in our reviews.
Yet credit from others sometimes isn’t forthcoming. And that lack of feedback holds us back or makes us feel unworthy. In the busy world we live in, your boss or your colleagues are often more wrapped up in their own work and their own to-do list, to be constantly giving you a pat on the back for achieving yours.
What we need to learn to do is give ourselvesthe credit we need to stay motivated. Not to keep searching for validation from others.
Because the way we feel about ourselves will alwaysbe there, even when there’s no-one else to celebrate our achievements.
What do you think? Do you struggle to celebrate your achievements? I’d love to know what you think, leave me a comment below.