Last week, I hosted a luncheon at the office on the topic of advocating fiercely for oneself. The presentation was inspired by the ATHENA Next Gen program, an eight-month series for emerging women leaders, which I was honored to join last year. Based on the principles in Martha Mayhood Mertz’s book Becoming Athena, the program not only introduced me to new friends, but it also really drove my personal development in 2017.
A lot of the program’s leadership principles, like building relationships and giving back, come naturally to me. However, when it comes to advocating for myself, I really struggle. I knew this was a common problem in the workplace, so I brought in one of the co-founders of our local ATHENA program to present to our staff over lunch.
After the presentation, I began to think more generally about the ways we can advocate for ourselves. I realized how important it is for us to take inventory of our own achievements. If we don’t actively keep track of our successes, how can we effectively ask for that raise or promotion? It’s easy to forget just how much we’ve accomplished. Without clear examples in mind, it’s no wonder that many of us clam up when it’s time to negotiate.
So how are you taking inventory of what you’re contributing to the workplace? Check out my list below for four easy ways to track your achievements in time for your next review.
1. Make a list of your accomplishments each year.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how much of a difference one little list can make. A friend suggested this to me at a time when I was truly struggling to balance grad school and full-time work, when I felt I wasn’t really excelling in either area. As I began to list my work accomplishments from the year, I was able to view myself from an outsider’s perspective. The process actually gave me an attitude adjustment.
Seeing everything I had done on paper took away a lot of the self-doubt I’d been experiencing. Whenever that doubt creeps back in (as it inevitably does), I can look back at that list and remind myself how much of a badass I can be. Having this list in mind can help you craft specific examples in a job interview or when advocating for a raise at work. It can also be a valuable tool when revising your resumé!
2. Create a portfolio of your work.
If you’re in a creative field, having a portfolio can be especially impactful on the job hunt and beyond. Because of my love for writing, I always keep copies of any published articles, press releases, and other written work. This was important for me to share when I was interviewing for my job, as I was coming in right out of college with limited entry-level work experience. Once you’ve landed the position, it’s still important to keep a portfolio of projects you’ve done in order to effectively showcase your work.
3. Keep a project spreadsheet.
Am I the only nerd out there who will make a spreadsheet for just about anything? In this case, I like to keep a spreadsheet to track the projects I’m currently working on, along with deadlines and progress. At the bottom, I have my list of completed projects. This helps me stay on track at work, and that “completed” list is an easy way to see what you’ve accomplished.
4. Start a success journal.
This was a suggestion we received in our luncheon last week, and I absolutely loved it! Our speaker suggested we keep a journal that not only highlights our successes, but also reflects on what worked, what didn’t work, and what we did to create positive outcomes. This can be an especially important tool for evaluating one’s own efforts and finding ways to improve in the future. It also allows us to advocate for ourselves by providing detailed examples of our accomplishments, along with insights into how we created that success.
What do you do to advocate for yourself? Share in the comments section below!