Eight years ago, when I announced I was starting my own business, I received lovely cards and letters from past co-workers, employers, and friends wishing me well. Many of them said, “What took you so long? You will do great!”
I put the cards and letters in the bottom drawer of my file cabinet. I called this my “Kudos File.” It was an easily accessible place where I could review, reflect, and rejoice in the kind words and support of others.
Over the years, I added many other celebrations and pieces of pride to the drawer: press clippings from the announcement of my two books, notes of praise from clients who liked my worked, cards from military veterans who’d been in my workshops and felt personally impacted, and programs from events where I’d keynoted.
I believe the Kudos File serves many purposes in our busy, stressful, and often unappreciated lives today. I encourage you to set up a Kudos File, gratitude drawer, celebration center, whatever you’d like to call it.
Here are my 3 reasons why I believe it’s important to do:
- Life isn’t always a cake walk. Sometimes we need a place to go and pull out a card or letter where someone else complimented us, expressed their appreciation, and shared gratitude for our work and contribution. To try to find this letter or card when you’re stressed and frazzled is nearly impossible. Putting them all in one place makes it easy.
- In personal branding and reputation management, keywords and key phrases are critical. When you have a central place for all the notes of appreciation and praise you’ve received over a period of time, you can scan for the keywords and key phrases you want to be known for and assess whether they are being used at all. When you see that repeatedly people refer to you as “generous, grateful, helpful, innovative, or a problem-solver” then you know your personal brand is gaining traction!
- Gratitude is not easy to come by today. When someone takes the time to pen a note to you, it should be cherished. Articles of accomplishment, celebration, and appreciation should not be discarded like junk mail. Keeping them reinforces their importance to you and your work and sends an energy that encourages more.
Today, as I went to put the lanyard and name badge from a fantastic speaking engagement I’d just finished into the drawer, I noticed it was overflowing. There is hardly any more room to add more pieces. In eight years, I’d accumulated a tremendous amount of gratitude, praise, and kind words of encouragement, appreciation, and support. What a blessing!