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What to Do Before Your Annual Review: Tip 3

Are you communicating?

Here’s the third tip on What to Do Before Your Annual Review. Missed some? Here are the last two:

Tip #3: Create Your Own Brag List

If you’ve heard me speak or have been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I believe learning to brag–in ways others don’t gag— is one of the keys to bringing your superpowers to work. (Haven’t heard that before? Read more here.)  This advice goes double –maybe even triple–as you get ready for an annual review.

So it’s time to create your brag list–your list of amazing accomplishments, growth, and contributions you’ve made in the past year (or whatever time period you’re being reviewed on.) Here are the rules for creating your Brag List:

  • Write it in your own words, since no one needs to see it except you. Say what you did in the way that really tells the story–not in corporate speak! For example, DON’T WRITE THIS: “I executed the marketing plan consistently for optimum value, ” WRITE THIS INSTEAD: “Thanks to my leadership, all of the elements of our marketing plan got done and are now out in the world attracting customers. Yippee!!”
  • Write down e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g that comes to mind–not just the things others might say are accomplishments. It doesn’t matter how big or small the accomplishment–write it down. If it’s important to you, it’s important. For example, if you kept yourself composed during the monthly marketing meetings while being questioned within an inch of your life, write it down! If you finally spoke up to the jerk who keeps questioning you in the marketing meetings, write that down, too!!
  • Park any shyness, censorship, or hesitation at the door, and say all the great things about you that you wish someone else would say.

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Having trouble getting started? Try words like:

  • This year, I was proud to be able to . . .
  • It was a great working experience when I . . 
  • I grew so much when I . . . .
  • I really put my past learning into action this year when I . . .
  • I did my best work when . . .
  • Life really rocked after I . . .

The Brag List gives you clarity around the situations that worked best for you this year (I bet you were wearing your Red Cape there!) and gives you confidence around your accomplishments. It also helps you get your success stories into words that you can use when you need them, whether at your performance review or at any other time.

Stuck? Can’t remember all that happened this year–good or bad? Here are three hints:

  • Go look at your calendar. Where you spent your time tells you oodles about what’s been important across the year.
  • Do a quick email scan across the year (I’d set a timer and limit yourself to about 10 minutes of this lest you get sucked into email cleanup or discovering loose ends that no longer matter.)
  • If you post work-related things on social media, scan your profile(s) for things you’ve shared. What you talked about in cyberspace may be things you should still be talking about now.

Still stuck? Pretend you are writing a recommendation for your best friend— that friend just happens to be you. What great things would you brag about for that friend? After all, you’ve been there to witness all the hard work—and hopefully to celebrate the successes!

For those of you whose companies ask you to do your own “balanced appraisal” or “self-assessment,” take note. Your Brag List isn’t that tool. However, if you are required to complete one of these, having your brag list handy is a great help in making sure you don’t overlook key accomplishments that others should note. Your work will never speak for itself–you have to speak for the work, so practice using your Brag List.

It’s time to start your Brag List today, even if your annual review is over or you’re not sure you’re having one. In fact, it’s helpful to keep it up all year-long, adding to it once a month (make this brainless and set an repeating appointment on your calendar). Remember, brag is not a four-letter word–you are doing great things, and the world wants to know about it!

Do you have a Brag List? Or if not, what’s holding you back?  Email me now and let’s chat. switch-gears-in-your-career-cover


How can I help YOU? Email me now and let’s chat.

I also have hundreds of free tools here, plus my new guide, 3 Secret Ways to Switch Gears in Your Career is out now. Get it here.

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