This is the season of list making, and I’d like to recommend making a list like the one maintained by Rebecca Neale, a 26-year-old staffer in the White House press office. After referring to Rebecca’s list in a recent speech to PR students at the University of Alabama, I was encouraged to share it more broadly.
Rebecca makes a practice of regularly reflecting on just completed projects, asking herself: “What are the lessons learned and how might I have done things better?” She maintains and continually updates her own Top 10 List of Professional Lessons Learned. Here’s her current list:
- Live beyond the “now.”
- You are your own best advocate.
- Play to your strengths.
- Career building happens through networking — keep those networks alive.
- Manage up.
- The devil is in the details — work to get things done right the first time.
- “Eighty percent of success is showing up” (Woody Allen) — and stepping up.
- In the work environment, keep your personal life personal.
- Learn from your wins and losses — and those of others.
- Make the most of your current situation — every experience is a learning opportunity.
The process of maintaining a list like Rebecca’s allows us to reflect on what went well and how we might have done something better. It’s a simple process that doesn’t require much time. I’m starting my list before January 1 as a replacement for previously never-fulfilled New Year resolutions.
2 thoughts on “Career Tool: Lessons Learned List”
I’m curious about no. 8 – keeping your personal life personal. I agree with this, but also wonder how the prevalence of online networking/social media tools has altered this.
It may be a generational point of view, but I feel far too much personal information is being shared online. The Today Show (12/7/08) carried a report about employers who check social networking sites to gain information about prospective employees. The expert’s advice: Limit your social networks to friends you know well, and assume that everything you put online will be read by a future boss.