When we are moving fast to reach our goals, we sometimes lose track of where we started. Having this starting point in view gives us a better sense of our progress. Choices made could have required huge effort in the moment, but in retrospect may easily be overlooked. Through writing we are able to keep track of our thoughts, observations and feelings in the moment, so we have something to remind us of just how far we have come.
We All Start Somewhere
Believe it or not, we live in a world where most people believe that skill and talent develop out of thin air. Sure, there are always going to be exceptionally talented people that learn with little effort, but the majority of us have to put an enormous amount of elbow grease to move ahead. Whether you are an artist, designer, artichitect, filmmaker, it is important to remember that we were all “bad” at one point. Riding the learning curve to the point where we can actually identify with our craft is part of every endeavour. For me, it was a time when I was in Barcelona without a job, thinking about what I could offer the world. I always had an interest in web design as a hobby, and wanted to expand my experience by learning design. I took out some graphic design for beginners books and jumped right in, but I was definitely hesitant to call myself a designer. I had absolutely no sense of design just five years ago, but remembering this through my journal entries gives me even more enthusiam for what I do.
Worry About Yourself
At all points in your life you are going to be running into people that are more successful than you are. Honestly, I don’t think there is anyone out there that hasn’t thought, “man, I wish I could be as good as that person”. But just remind yourself that growth is relative, and what matters the most is what you are doing. Accomplishment is relative to where you started. Too often, we are focused on the relationship between age and accomplishment, but we should never feel too old or proud to start learning something new. Personally I am more impressed with a 70-year old who decides to learn a new language than a 20-something who just sold his first company. Get over this discouraging thought and you will never regret it.
Accomplishment is relative to where you started
Keeping track of your progress, you will be more conscious of the accomplishments you have made. Make sure to note the problems you came across, the milestones you reached, things you overcame that you thought you never could. You could try to describe how you see yourself in a specific period, so when you check-in down the road, you will have a sense of how your self-image has changed. You might realize the next time around that you should actually give yourself more credit, or that you should be more confident than you were on that one project.
We are surrounded by so many levels of accomplishment that it is easy to forget our own. My friends and colleagues, I urge you to acknowledge how far you have come, irrespective of those around us. We are each where we need to be in our careers, skills, and personal growth. We owe it to ourselves to keep this ahead in our thoughts, and to keep our heads up. I think you will be impressed with the sense of power it gives you. So keep track!
Keep a daily or weekly journal. If you are new to it, try to write small brief entries. You might even decide to add a Done List to each entry. If you are taking on a new endeavor or skill, try to include some details about the progress you are making and your feelings about it. My personal recommendation is either a plain old notebook, or DayOne app which I use personally.