It's the end of the year which means it's the season of performance reviews, employee rewards, and year-end (or decade-end) best-of lists. December is the time when, among other festivities, we celebrate the accomplishments of the year just past.
All of which is great, but as consistently thought-provoking writer David Cain recently reminded readers on his blog Raptitude, patting yourself on the back for your outward achievements should be only one part of your holiday celebrations. Don't forget to congratulate yourself on your invisible accomplishments too.
Your most important accomplishments are probably invisible.
In his post titled "Most Accomplishments Are invisible," Cain points out that while being crowned "salesperson of the year" or "most valuable employee" is nice, often our biggest achievements are quieter and more internal, and therefore go unrecognized.
Citing a post by a VC relating his struggle to overcome his stutter as well as his own battles with social anxiety, Cain writes, "most human challenges and triumphs are of just that sort: unseen, unsexy, and unrelatable to almost everyone else, which is why they don't really come up when we talk about achievement."
This sort of long, hard, personal slog to overcome your demons, fight back after trauma, or simply learn to be a better, kinder version of yourself might be invisible, but that doesn't mean these battles aren't hard fought - and important. So take a minute to celebrate these achievements before the year ends, because if you don't, no one else will either.
"If you feel inadequate whenever some form of the 'achievement Olympics' comes up, don't. We live in a society that assesses people by what their lives produce, not what it takes to live them. Inner work is ignored unless it explains some outer work," Cain reminds those who are receiving few laurels this year despite putting in tremendous effort to better themselves.
Take a moment to toast yourself.
So while topping the productivity stakes at work or beating your best marathon time will win you the nod from others, it's up to you to take a moment and toast yourself for your inner work. Cain's post is a beautiful reminder to set aside some time and mental space to do just that this month.
Take to your journal and outline your progress (or write a blog post), talk to those closest to you about your personal development, indulge in a special treat as a reward, or simply take a few minutes to breathe and think about how far you've come.
2020 will certainly bring more challenges -- we're all always works in progress -- but if you don't take the time to savor your invisible accomplishments all that effort won't have been worth much, will it?