A couple of months ago, I made a Trello board to list all of my achievements and milestones from the last five years.
I was inspired by Lauren Holliday’s post on tracking your work accomplishments, which you should definitely check out. By creating my own version, I wanted to ponder:
What had I actually achieved in the last few years? What was I most proud of? When did most of that happen? What do I want more of, and in which areas of my life?
I started by listing my big life moments: moving countries, new jobs and roles, countries I travelled to, mountains climbed, and important people who have influenced the course of my life so far.
From crippling shyness to living in Switzerland and working for myself, a lot has changed. Visualising how I’d got there via the year-by-year achievements of my early adulthood came with some surprises.
2013–2017 on the Trello board
2015 was a huge year for me — I graduated despite some roadblocks and difficult times during my degree, travelled on my own for the first time, moved to Switzerland, and got a job I was really excited about.
But what the hell had I done in 2016–2017? I could hardly think of anything to put down, especially not in terms of work.
I remember feeling like I wasn’t pushing myself enough back then, and in hindsight perhaps I should have listened more to that (women in business problem #300, being frequently told you should be happy where you are and eventually listening to that despite better judgement).
Yet I also wondered if I needed that stability to prepare myself for several big jumps in 2018, when I left my job and had to work out my own path.
Something I’m still working out and will be for some time: the fine balance between being happy where I am and pushing myself to live more of the life I want to live.
If I’m alive and breathing, I want to be living properly. I like slowing down and taking things easy, but if it’s in an environment that sucks the energy from me, it’s toxic. Then I’d rather push myself someplace else.
2018 — to the future
After two slow years, a helluva lot changed in 2018. There’s probably some recency bias at play, but it was definitely a much bigger year than any of the last few.
In June 2018, I catapulted myself off my career ladder and into self-employment. After an incredible first month, I got all the expected loneliness, worries about money, and fears I’ll die alone in a ditch. But I’m still here and still have a ceiling above me.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zones in other areas, too. I did my diving course in Bali despite not being able to put my head underwater without a panic attack (I didn’t finish my course, but I’m so happy I tried). That same week, I experienced a 6.9 earthquake and got the tsunami warning I’d always been terrified of. I was forced to evolve more in the space of a couple months than I did in the last year.
When we push ourselves in one area of our lives, I’m convinced it impacts other areas. We’re in a braver, more confident mindset. But the same goes for stagnation — it seeps into other aspects of our lives.
On my Trello board, I also have a Coming up column to scheme everything I want to achieve this year. This includes clients I’m hoping to work with, projects I want to launch, landmarks to reach, and other general goals to hit (mind, body, love, community, creativity, work).
Manifesting your achievements can seem a bit woo-woo, but it’s hard to argue with getting clear on what you want and planning how to make it happen.
I check my Trello board every 2–3 weeks, making a few updates and patting myself on the back for achievements. I also think of the new goals I want to add and any I want to remove.
It suits how my mind works: I love the satisfaction of moving goals from “Coming up” to “Achieved”.
For the last few years I’ve also kept my Month / Quarter / 6 months / Year / 2 Years / Someday goals on my fridge.
That way, I see my Post-it sized notes every time I raid the fridge or walk past it. Even if I don’t consciously read them, my goals are still on my mind.
I like to know how I’m challenging myself and growing in the areas that are most important to me right now.
When creating my Trello board, here are the labels I used:
- Pivotal Moment
- Pivotal Person
- Pivotal Achievement
- The Really Awesome Stuff
Not every year is a crazy one. Nor should they be. There’s a time and a place for stability, and some of the most beautiful years can be the slowest and calmest. But stagnation can creep up on you silently and without any sirens. Before you know it, you’ve spent a year where you don’t really want to be.
Chart your evolution over the last few years and see how you respond to what’s in front of you.
- What have I achieved in the last few years?
- What am I most proud of?
- What environment produced the best results for me in the past?
- Which people bring me higher?
Then check where your compass is directing you next.
Make sure you are where you want to be and where you’re heading to if you don’t course correct soon. Check if you’re happy where you are or if you’re due a change. Think about when you last got out your comfort zone.
Remember, it’s your life you’re building.2 Enjoy this article?