High-achieving professionals and business owners are focused on the future. Even after significant “wins”, the focus for many of us quickly shifts to “what’s next”. Over the long-term, this can lead to burnout, discontent, and feeling of being trapped; even isolated. If we take the time to connect with our past, it can boost self-awareness and confidence and better position us for success in both work and life.
Understanding the Habits of Winning
High-achievers do things that many others don’t or won’t, and even do things that others might not have previously thought possible. They have a commitment to excellence and winning. This commitment is vital to establishing success as a professional and business owner. Following through on commitments also helps build character and self-esteem.
Whatever motivates to pursue our own path – the challenge, the paycheck, the standing in society, or the expectations of others – a full commitment is necessary. Early on, most of us needed to take ownership to target a direction for our lives and focus our time to realize our future. This demanded that we select a school and a major, get through 8:00 a.m. classes and a challenging curriculum. We needed to secure and succeed in internships and residencies, and we needed to pass tests for licenses and certifications. We formed the habits needed for success.
At some point, however, many of us lost some ownership in the details and the direction of our lives.
The Silent Price of Commitment
For virtually all professions, achieving requires us to be “all in” for an extended period – often 10, 20, or even 30 years. That is what it takes to master our craft, make a name, and build our platform. There is so much to learn on the job, especially in the early years, and the commitment it requires can be consuming, both in a positive and productive way… but it can also work against us.
Unfortunately, professional and entrepreneurial success is more about applied knowledge than it is about information alone. We need to make judgments and often operate in gray areas. As a result, we gain both experience and understanding. There is no other way to do this than to spend the appropriate amount of time in our craft to learn, do, fail, and seek more opportunities; then, repeat.
Over time, our commitment to our careers can cause us to lose touch with ourselves and others, lose track of our accomplishments, and lose clarity of where things may be heading.
Master the Past
On this journey, it is easy for us to become burned-out, disengaged, trapped, or even isolated. When that occurs, we need to take inventory and connect with our past. This exercise demands that we take the time to recognize, appreciate, and preserve our successes to date. It is essential to better understand our present to achieve our desired future. A well-planned sabbatical can help in this process.
Before I had the conviction to give my final 2-year notice to my partners, I went through a process of accounting for and documenting my past successes. This all began by chance when my son asked me to review his college co-op resume. As a father and professional, I was impressed, not just with the content, but with the format. The flow was different than I remembered as a candidate myself, as well as what I had seen from candidates interested in joining our firm.
I then realized it had been over 15 years since I last developed a resume for myself, and probably a good time to take stock. Even though mine was a corporate resume, it was not nearly the same; a corporate resume focuses only on industry projects, positions, and roles. I decided to build a more complete resume and began to use the “margin” I created in my life to do so. I modified the format to better reflect components representative of a 20 plus year career. This newer format helped me highlight my skills, qualities, and career progression, as well as my work outside of the office.
As I documented my progression and achievements, I felt like I began to enjoy them – some for the first time. Having these documented, and being able to reflect on them, helped me put my successes into perspective. I also began to recognize and become excited about transferable skills and experiences that could be used for greater impact beyond what I was currently doing. This helped build up my confidence and give me the courage to venture into a new chapter of my career.
How to Take Stock in the Past for a Productive Future
Using your resume as a means to check in with yourself and your past, is key to helping shape the future you want. You can use the “margin” established here over the next several weeks to help in your efforts.
Take the time to account for and document:
- Your overarching level of achievement,
- Your professional highlights and personal qualities,
- The details of your various roles, duties, formed skills, and achieved outcomes for each level of your career progression,
- Your roles, experiences, and impact outside of the office,
- Your educational achievements, certifications, and awards earned, and
- Any other personal skills, hobbies, and interests that help round-out who you are.
Your updated resume will help you gain perspective and much greater awareness. As a result, you will be able to recognize and celebrate the full scope of your accomplishments. In turn, you will now be better positioned to close any gaps between the life you have and the one you desire. All the while you will form new winning habits that will help you reverse and avoid burnout.
This article originally appeared on ActionsProve