It’s a great time of year for interesting lists as news outlets publish a slew of year-in-review articles. I always look forward to the New York Times’ Year in Pictures and Time magazine’s 50 Best Inventions of the year. Other publications make lists of the best TV shows and movies of the year, the top albums, the most popular content, the most bizarre news stories. Even Twitter does a yearly recap. Personally, I love these lists. They often connect me with things I missed, and they remind me of all that happened as the past 12 months flashed by.
Creating your personal Career Year highlights is an important activity for you too. Here’s why:
It helps you own your accomplishments. It reminds you that despite the feeling of overwhelm you may experience, especially as a new year begins, you made some things happen last year. Because career-minded professionals are often focused on what’s next, they might not take the time to acknowledge what they’ve achieved. Your year-end review can serve as a hearty pat on the back for all you’ve done.
It adds punctuation. In our always-on, 24/7, 365 world, one day blurs into the next. Each week just follows the previous. Entire months go by without any acknowledgement that you’ve moved from May to June. It’s important to add a period or even an exclamation mark to each year, giving you an opportunity to start the new year with a fresh new chapter or at least a new sentence.
It shows you what was important. When the media put together a list of the most interesting movies of 2019, not every movie makes the list. There’s a curation process, which provides a point-of-view and makes the list more valuable. It’s the same for you. When you put together your list of 2019 activities, you aren’t going to create a comprehensive tome of all that happened in the 365 days. You’ll choose which items make the list and which do not. That tells you a lot about what’s important to you, what made you feel proudest or what you think delivered the greatest value to achieving your career goals. As you build your personal brand in the New Year, you can focus on what’s important.
Of course, a lot happens in a year. So how do you know what kind of list to create? Here are a few ideas that will help you identify the categories that might be most valuable to you.
- My most impactful career accomplishments
- The most meaningful work relationships I fostered
- The most valuable skills I learned
- The most helpful things I read, watched, listened to
- The things and people for which/whom I am most grateful
- The biggest lessons I learned
- The most helpful things I learned
- The number of business trips I’ve taken (miles flown, etc.) and the ones that led to the biggest transformations
- The projects I never got around to but are still important for the coming year
- My most popular social media posts
- The new experiences or “firsts” I encountered
- The people I have helped, mentored or supported
- The goals I achieved
- The productivity apps I used most
Once you decide which list(s) you’d like to create, complete these activities to gather your content:
- Go to your calendar, looking through all the items you scheduled
- Reverse sort your email, looking for senders and subjects that stand out
- Go over your do-list for the items that were done (unless you delete them as soon as you accomplish them)
- Review your social media accounts and posts
- Go over your annual objectives – the ones your company has you create and any personal ones you created for yourself
- Ask others for their input and opinions about your impact
Then decide what lists will be most helpful to you, and you’re all set to assemble, curate and share.
Put some punctuation on last year so you can turn the page to this year with a renewed focus on what’s truly important.