If you’re ready to end the year strong, then first you need to define your career progress.
Wait . . progress? Not achievements, accomplishments, or wins?
Truth is, our work today can’t always be measured by reaching a finish line.
So many of the knowledge-based tasks we do each day are part of bigger, broader initiatives. “Done” is hard to measure. When we’re only looking at what’s done, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been spinning your wheels and never moving forward.
But here’s my promise—you’ve made more forward progress than you know. You just need some help in pulling it out.
That’s what we’ll do in this 11-minute sprint where I show you an unconventional way to define your career progress in the past year. It’s a clip from a broader training I did within my Insider Community, which you can join for free here.
- Frankly, you could do this exercise anytime when you’d like to know you’re moving forward—in prep for your annual review, or in the messy middle of a project when you need a little boost.
What you’ll need for this exercise:
- Your calendar for the past year
- A place to write things down
- 11 minutes
- The video below!
Download the audio only here:
If you’d like to go deeper into these ideas, I talk about how to Pursue Progress (not perfection!) and to celebrate your TA-DAs in chapter 15 of my book, “Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career Without Leaving Your Job.” Haven’t read it yet? Get it now on Amazon, Audible, or find your favorite online bookseller listed at RedCapeRescue.com.
If you’ve read it, I’d love a review from you. They all help others find the book, and when they find the book, they get the help they deserve to have the career they need.
Transcript (slightly edited for readability):
Let’s dive in to the Get It Done actions. And the first one is to define your career progress.
Okay, so what do I mean by career progress? Well, let’s be honest. For a lot of us, our career can kind of sometimes look like this, right? Like, we’re doing the same things. And we’re running around, it’s the same meeting, it’s the same project. And we don’t always see the progress that we’re making anybody ever had that happen? You know, I know it happens to me sometimes.
So, as we define our career progress, the first sprint, we’re going to do here is to scan the year, we’re going to really create a little bit of a highlight reel of our year. Okay, so we don’t just look at it at the macro level, where we’re going around and around and doing the same things. We’re gonna dig deeper into what really happened this year, where did I really spend my time, my energy, my focus? Here’s how we’re going to do that. I asked you to bring your calendar, and whether it’s on this device, or whether it’s in a piece of paper or planner, now, most of you, it’s probably going to be on this device.
So, as we look at this, I’m going to ask you to resist going other places and just open up your calendar, not your email, not Facebook, or Instagram or anything else, but just your calendar. We’re going to look at quarters, no, not really not quarters like this, we’re going to look at quarters of the year. So we’re going to jumble are a bunch the year into the quarter. So what’s a quarter of a year? Well, January, February, March, that’s the first quarter. And then April, May, June, the second quarter.
So one minute at a time, we’re going to look at your calendar, you’re going to look at a quarter at a time. And it’s probably going to look something like this, right? You’re going to pull up whatever view is right for you. And you’re just going to start to scan through and what pops out. What were the meetings, what were the deliverables? What are the events?
And this is by no means a full deep dive, you know, every single thing if you want to do that at some point, you certainly can. But often just by scanning just three months at a time you get the highlights, you get the highlights of where you spent your time, it’s like, oh, yeah, there were a lot of meetings for the XYZ project. That’s where my time my energy was.
It might be performance reviews, or, you know, Project X or the issue with Stacey, you know, no, apologies to Stacey. But what was taking your time, your energy, your focus in each of those quarters? We’re going to go through each quarter.
I’m going to give you a minute. Okay, so you’re ready you have a calendar, however, you use it this or something on paper. We’re going to just look at January February and March and write down the key things that pop out. Alright. Great Ready, set. One minute, quarter one go. What was happening in January, February, March shows 30 seconds Okay, it’s time for quarter one take a second write the rest of your thoughts down those words those key things I know it goes fast I know I know. Don’t judge it don’t overthink it. Whatever pops out there’s no right or wrong here you are perfect just the way you are. Get it down-you’re ready for quarter two can remember these high level where does your energy go? What were the things you were spending time with?
Get ready for the second quarter Ready? Set go that’s 30 seconds was April May or June of this year okay, that’s time for the second quarter. Finish your thought write down those keywords those things that came out Where was your energy your time spent that second quarter? April, May June. Okay, shake your hand out a little bit. Shake your body out a little bit. Let’s finish the year, okay, July, August, and September one minute ready? Oh by the way, if it’s the same thing that’s fine. A lot of us have projects that go on and on it doesn’t have to be something different every time so don’t judge it remember but July August September third quarter. Ready set go!
Don’t give up you got this I don’t want to make it I just want to do 27 o’clock
30 seconds . .. July, August, September!
And that’s time Good job. You are doing awesome. Now we’ve got the last quarter and this should be pretty easy because not all of it is done yet. So what were October and November so far and maybe you can anticipate what’s gonna happen the rest of November and December Okay, one more minute? Ready, set go fourth quarter last quarter of the year what are the themes? What’s been happening lately where you’ve been spending your time?
15 seconds good Okay, that’s time. Okay, finish up the words you’re writing the thoughts, you have little notes that you made for yourself. Give yourself a round of applause. Because you just scanned the year. You just created a mini highlight reel for yourself.
And I bet there was something that you came across you forgotten about or that you really wouldn’t have remembered today that you did back in the first quarter, the second quarter, or heck, even the beginning of October. Sometimes it’s hard to remember those things. So good for you!