Do you see yourself as successful, or do you consider success something off in the distance? Unless you have recently completed a major project, you are more likely to think you are doing well, but nothing special. It’s not negative thinking exactly, but it certainly isn’t positive.

We tend to see and find what we are looking for, and we train our brain to confirm our thoughts. If you believe what you do is ordinary but find other librarians’ creativity and knowledge remarkable, you won’t see your ongoing achievements. As a result, you won’t feel like a leader or present yourself to others as a leader.

The truth is, you are successful. I can prove it. You are successful when you teach, and when you find that perfect book. You are successful when you help a teacher out. You are successful when you see a student stop and look at a display or bulletin board you created. When you make a difference, no matter how small, you have been successful. There may be many successes you’re missing. When you take the time to notice, you find what you’re looking for – this includes success. One thing I do to help me notice these moments is writing daily in a Success Journal. Every success is a step in the right direction and seeing it written out can help you own it.

In his post, Tracking Your Accomplishments: Why to Do It, What to Document And How to Follow Through, Joel Garfinkle echoes my recommendation about recording your successes. He has even more reasons for doing so. Among them are:

  • You will forget – Of course you will especially when you don’t even notice many of them – and when the next problem/crisis/need is grabbing your focus.
  • Everyone else forgets – When you keep track, you’ll be able to share the specifies of your success when it’s time for your annual evaluation or when someone asks why you think a project will work..
  • You will be interview ready – No position is 100% secure, and even if you’re tenured, a change in administration could have you wanting to move on. Having a record of your successes allows you to be prepared – and remember the reasons you’re valuable to the schools you work for.

He suggests tracking the following:

  • Comments from your boss, clients or other stakeholders – For you this includes students, teachers, parents and perhaps other librarians as well. Take note of how they see your work and contribution.
  • Successful projects – In addition to writing the details of what happened, take pictures for your record (or portfolio). Add any comments you received (was there media coverage or postings of an event?).
  • Positive results from your efforts – Be clear about what goal(s) was achieved – intentional and unintentional, expected and unexpected. Make notes on the impact that you and your work made.
  • Regular responsibilities you have fulfilled – It isn’t only the big things that demonstrate your successes It’s also the successful day-to-day functioning of your library. Getting through that routine is definite accomplishment. And, back to the earlier comment, your principal is not likely to be aware of all you are doing unless you tell or show them.

Yes, tracking your successes might feel like one more thing for the to-do list, but as you see your successes add up, you might look forward to doing it. Find a time of day or location that works best for you. I keep it by my computer and track as I achieve something positive. This has the added benefit of giving me a boost of joy and motivation to tackle the next thing on the list.

Take the time to discover how successful you are. It will change your mindset. And that will change how people see you. Me? I’m going to put “wrote my blog post” on today’s success list. What’s going on yours?


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