Uh oh, did you just ask yourself, "What the hell is a brag book"?
It's alright, you're not alone. Most people don't. But, it's a game-changing technique for advancing your career, bolstering your confidence, and connecting with the value you bring to an organization.
What it is:
A brag book is simply a document, a notebook, a file folder, or any place where you document "work wins".
For example, I have a Word Document on my computer where I save positive feedback and testimonials from my clients. Every time I do something that makes me feel great, or every time some one tells me that my work is valuable to them, I document it in my "Brag Book".
Why it's so important:
There are 3 reasons that starting and maintaining a Brag Book can bring you closer to your ultimate career goals:
1. Brag Books make you feel amazing!
Every time you open that notebook or document, you see every great thing you've done in one place and it makes you feel like a rock star at your job. Trust me, I've yet to meet with a single woman who couldn't use a little more confidence about her capabilities.
Reviewing your Brag Book when you go to add another entry, or reviewing it when you're having a bad day, will completely change your perspective on your competence to do your job and the value you bring to your organization.
When you feel more confident and competent at work, you're going to show up in your job with more positivity and motivation - and your co-workers and your boss are going to feel it too (hello, promotion!).
2. Noticing Wins, Creates More Wins
This point may seem a little hippy-dippy to you, but it's true.
Where your attention goes, your energy flows. The more wins, successes, accomplishments, accolades, and achievements you record, the more wins, successes, accomplishments, accolades, and achievements you'll experience.
If you're feeling more valuable and more confident at work (see reason #1), you're bound to perform better. Success, breeds success. Documenting your successes is a simple strategy to compound both your confidence and your effectiveness at work - it will have a snowball effect that will make you unstoppable!
3. You'll have Hard Evidence at your Fingertips
Ever sit down to complete a performance review and struggle with remembering everything you did over the past year? Do you forget that major client you landed, or the sales figures for that big month, or the results from that project you spent weeks on?
When you have a brag book, you have documented evidence of your performance.
Completing performance evaluations will be a breeze, updating your resume will be a snap, and discussing a promotion or negotiating a raise with your boss - just became a whole lot less intimidating.
Having this hard evidence to back-up your "ask" - whatever that is - will strengthen your position and make your argument that much more influential. Whether you're looking to secure a new job outside your company, a promotion within your current organization, or a year-end raise, you can confidently state your value because you have cold, hard, proof.
One last note about having a Brag Book; I recommend it be something that you own or will always have access to - a physical notebook or an online document. If something happens in your current job and you have to leave unexpectedly (laid-off or fired), you will definitely need access to your Brag Book.
If you're walked from the building, you will no longer have access to your work files or old performance reviews. Having your own documentation covers your butt - for writing a resume or for any legal action that may be appropriate in your situation.
How to start:
Just open a document or a blank notebook and write down everything you can think of now - everything you've ever done in your current role (or previous roles) that was great. Think about projects, programs, committee participation, changes you implemented, sales you closed, positive feedback from bosses, clients, co-workers - anything that ever made you feel good about the work you do.
Then, keep up on it. Make it a ritual.
I recommend making this the last thing you do every Friday. Before you clean-off your desk and head for happy hour or date night, take 5 minutes and review your week. How did you make a difference? How did you advance company goals? How did you support your department?
Simply write it down - every win, big or small.
I talked about Brag Books in my free Facebook Group, Kick Glass Career Women - join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kickglass. I go live every Friday and share a quick, actionable tip that will propel your career and job search goals. And... because it's live, you can ask me for help [read: free career coaching]!