When’s the last time something freaking awesome happened to you in your professional life? When you:

  • got a raise or a bonus
  • earned a promotion
  • got an awesome job
  • secured an fantastic partnership
  • received stellar feedback from a boss or a customer
  • delivered a great presentation

… What did you do?

(Anything ringing a bell?)

All the great work you put in that brought you to a milestone or worthwhile external recognition leads you toward your goals – working hard and working smart eventually pay off.

But sometimes, a little reflection – and celebration – is required to truly own your achievements.

Leverage your success into even more payoffs with my tips:

Do: Recognize your efforts.

What did you do that made it happen? Find out the specifics that lead to this particular success: what did the hiring manager say about why she felt you were the best candidate for the position? What made that presentation so great? Identify what exactly went well and what lead to this success. What can you repeat in the future?

Don’t: Credit your success to pure luck.

You may have mentors who encouraged you to take a professional leap, you may have had a lucky break (i.e. your job interview was scheduled at an ideal time), or you may have fantastic professional connections that introduced you to someone that lead to a deal. Not everyone enjoys the privileges that you may have. But you were the one who put the pieces together and made it happen. You were the one who saw an opportunity and took it. Don’t discredit that effort. 

“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson.

Do: Share the news with those who matter.

There are people in your life who value your efforts and want you to succeed – and they’ll be happy to hear of your accomplishments! Let people in and let them share it with you.

Don’t: Share the news to the wrong people.

I recently had some great news at work that was a little sensitive in nature that couldn’t necessarily be broadcasted in the office for a period of time. When the time came to make this announcement, the response from some (not all) of my colleagues ranged from tepid to dismissive. Looking back, would I have shared this news in the particular manner that I did? Nope. You may also have a mildy-to-legitimately toxic coworkers that aren’t going to celebrate your success. Ditto for frenemies or random naysayers on social media who will have less-than-positive comments in regard to your success. If negative people don’t need to know about your good news, keep them in the dark. And if they do need to know? Shake it off.

Do: Plan for what’s next.

How does this great news affect your short-, medium-, and long-term goals? How does this change things? What financial effects are likely? A positive professional event has the power to impact several aspects of your life. Think about this impact and what you’d like to do now. What new connections has that presentation brought about? How does that raise affect your investments? Dig into those opportunities that come with your milestone.

Don’t: Rest on your laurels.

You’ve still got a road in front of you to travel, goals to achieve, more milestones to hit. Becoming complacent doesn’t do anyone any favors. Celebrate, give yourself a pat on the back, but don’t forget about the fortunes that come your way with a professional success. The next accomplishment is yours to take – so go for it!

What do you think? What tips do you have to make the most out of a recent achievement? Share your thoughts in the comments or @GailMarieCole!

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