Document Success Another key area I’m working on is learning to celebrate, document, and be open about my achievements. I often think about being a child and looking forward to my birthday or holiday gifts. I would dream for months about some item, toy, or prize. Then, upon getting it, I’d enjoy it for a stretch before my attentions oh-so-often moved on to the next item or experience to pursue. I find that successes are a bit like this. I’m hard wired to constantly perform To achieve new things and to focus on the next challenge. It is a formula that keeps me busy and has pushed me to accomplish a lot at an early age.
Still, one thing I’m horrible about is actually documenting and acknowledging these accomplishments. True, I’ll share them with friends or family, and I am undoubtedly incredibly proud of them when they occur. But, they fade from sight and from mind quickly. This can be an issue when I hit unexpected delays or am reflecting on life and my accomplishments. During these periods I tend to be overly hard on myself failing to acknowledge or at times even remember many of the relevant accomplishments I have achieved. This overachiever dilemma is a challenging one. In no small part because documenting and cataloging accomplishments takes time and energy that seems better spent doing something.
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At the same time, failure to do so leaves us unbalanced and warps our perspective. I’ve seen numerous friends and colleagues who were prolific overachievers and had accomplished great things fall victim to crippling (or sometimes lethal) self-doubt. While I’ve never felt that far out of balance, a cornerstone of success is being attuned to what you are doing, what you have done, and what you are capable of. It is also just flat out healthy to celebrate and document when a new milestone is achieved.
Learn to Accept Praise
As part of learning to celebrate achievements a key skill to develop is learning how to accept praise. Frankly, I suck at it. It’s complex, it is uncomfortable, and it is awkward. It is also essential. Learn how to be gracious. Learn how to be humble. But also learn how to accept praise and accolades. Also, realize and accept that praise is not always all about you.
The person that benefits most or feels the greatest reward from praise may be someone else entirely. Just as we listen to a loved one’s tired old story time and time again because we acknowledge that the telling gives them pleasure be open to and accept that accolades and praise are just as often about those around you and those who care about you. Embrace it and see it as an opportunity to share a small gift with them
Be multidisciplinary if you want to understand any concept and be successful. In college, it always baffled me that economics students learned so little history, sociology, or anthropology. The result was disastrous and led to grossly unbalanced economists with massive holes in their ability to judge, understand, and analyze behaviors. At the end of the day, if you want to be successful and desire the ability to digest data, understand it quickly, and then apply it you have to aspire to be interdisciplinary. This means diverse interests, being curious, reading and socializing outside of the given area you’re exploring. Aspire to be a Renaissance man or woman. Train yourself to be able to have a capable conversation with anyone no matter their career or level of education. Do that, and you’ll find that doors open up for you.