Norton: Remind yourself that yesterday’s achievement is tomorrow’s success (column)
One of the greatest pieces of advice that I ever received came from a great friend and mentor earlier in my life. He actually gave me two pieces of advice wrapped up in one life-changing conversation. The two were so connected that, even today, I consider these words of wisdom a tremendous part of any success that I have experienced in my life.
I have been paying this forward and have passed along this advice to those who I know, who I work with and those who I coach and mentor. And now I want to share it with you, too.
The first part was to be diligent in keeping a record of each accomplishment, award or times that I had been recognized in any way. He told me to buy a binder and keep it handy. My mentor had shared this with me immediately after I had been recognized as Salesperson of the Month for the first time. He told me that even though there would be only one plaque on my wall and one certificate in my binder, he was confident that over time, I would be filling multiple binders and taking up plenty of wall space, too. Twenty-nine years later, I am grateful for his confidence in me and for his advice.
I say that because I did fill up my binder and other binders with many awards and recognitions, letters of accomplishment, letters and emails provided as a testimonial or reference. Now I am not sharing this with you to brag on myself, I am really bragging on my mentor and the advice and guidance he gave me because the second part of his advice is where he made all the difference in my life and contributed to my future successes.
You see, the second part of the advice is built on the saying: “Success begets success.” He encouraged me to review my past achievements regularly as a way to continue to believe that I can do great things. The idea was not to get caught up in relying on my past successes, as we know that we are only as good as our last record. And it also wasn’t about someone asking me, “So what have you done for me lately?” No, it’s not about that at all. It’s about you and me and asking ourselves, “What else is still left inside of me?” Asking ourselves, “What have I done for myself lately?”
Throughout my career, I have experienced exhilarating wins and I have suffered crushing losses. And I have been everywhere between. There have been times when I have forgotten about my book of records and achievements, and instead of looking on my past successes to motivate me, I found myself wrestling in slumps.
And then, somewhere deep inside, I would hear the voice of my mentor saying, go back and look at your binder. So, I would open it, read a few of them, or more if I was really in a deep slump, and get fired up again about who I am and what I have accomplished in this life, personally and professionally.
It really doesn’t matter if you are in sales, management, teaching, manufacturing, health care or any other profession or volunteer position. My advice and encouragement is this, that you will create your own “brag book” and that you will go back and read it often to help you stay motivated and to help drive your future success, contributions, and achieve your own goals and dreams.
And remember, it may only start with one, but success begets success, and just as my mentor had confidence in me, I am confident that you, too, will fill your binder and your walls with all of your own rewards, awards and recognitions.
So how about you? Do you remember all the good and great things you have done in your life, or do you need to be reminded of just how fantastic you really are? I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we can remember that yesterday’s achievement is tomorrow’s success, it really will be a better-than-good week.
Michael Norton is the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.