We now live in a world where everything happens at 100mph with very little pause for breath which doesn’t allow us much, if any time, to reflect. We are so consumed with the next deadline and our to-do list that we rarely take the time to acknowledge smaller milestones or victories.
While evaluation is a key part of what we do for all our clients, constantly reviewing what went well and how we can make improvements, I place less emphasis on personal reflection and self-recognition. However, we recently had our yearly appraisals at Target which have forced us all to take a step back. It’s a pretty thorough process which involves the rest of the team giving their own feedback via a scoring system as well as providing our own thoughts about what’s worked well, not so well and any goals we might have.
When I came to do mine, I found it quite difficult to identify things that had gone well and the previous 12 months seemed to blur into one so we chatted about why this might be. While I, along with most people, tend to be able to remember the things that went wrong more clearly than the things that went right, it bothered me that I wasn’t able to easily recall any of the good stuff.
I’d fallen into the trap of becoming too focussed on simply getting something done and then moving on to the next task. While obviously productivity is important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of taking the time to reflect. Whether an outcome is good, bad or not the one you’d originally thought, it’s important to stand back and either appreciate it or analyse where improvements could be made.
Without acknowledging the smaller victories or milestones, it’s easy to get lost in the bigger picture and perhaps makes achieving the end goal seem more difficult or even impossible. This is particularly important with bigger projects or campaigns that are made up of lots of smaller tasks.
We provide a press office function for many of our clients and by its very nature, I think this sometimes means we are less likely to recognise achievements. A campaign also usually runs over a finite period whereas a press office is continually rolling, making it easier to fall into the trap of not reflecting your successes.
Whether it’s securing coverage in a key trade title for a complex technical feature or successfully navigating a crisis situation, I realised I was taking what I did for granted. Reflection is key for continued development and while I’m not advocating narcissism, taking a step back every now and then is a healthy way to ensure we give ourselves credit where it’s due.