Many years ago I had a boss who was just nothing short of spectacular. She was one of the most well put together women I’d ever met. Her skin glowed, outfit always chic and polished and her demeanor was just the same. She was also very much a warrior woman pushing through in an industry of mostly men and quite successfully at that. At the same time she was a wonderful “mother hen” for our group of young designers working under her. Her goal was for us to be well respected in our work. She was always giving us a random tidbit of information or guidance to ensure we performed well and she always had our back. One of the most wonderful things this woman taught me was to celebrate my good work. She encouraged us to keep an “Atta girl file”. In this file bin we’d keep thank you notes, positive comments, e-mails, handwritten letters, photographs and more to remind ourselves of our accomplishments. Our work was not just “work” but we were in a small way touching people’s lives and working closely with clients on projects that would span multiple years.
While that file bin has since been stored away, I have a new “Atta girl file”. I continue to keep those little meaningful notes and letters and if I find I’m struggling or having a bad day, I may take a few minutes to browse through the file. Perhaps I’ll read a couple cards or a letter of a past project and enjoy the lovely words from my client.
This has also reminded me of the importance of letting others know how they affect me and my life. If I have a supplier who goes above and beyond, I really try to let them know how they helped me. Sure it’s easy to post a picture online of something great, but I encourage you to take it a step further. Send that person who gave you a little extra help a hand written note.
Now take a few minutes to create your own “Atta girl file” for yourself and begin collecting these treasures. I’m sure you’ll enjoy looking back at them like I do.