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Being that today is Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to suggest creating a “Love File” No, this isn’t the list of all the people you needed to give valentines. This is a file where you keep all of the thank-you’s, kudos, accolades, or other evidence of accomplishments.

I call it the “Love File” because it needs a name that’s big. This file is important and the name needs to reflect its power. Remember, this is for the good stuff, the special stuff. And we all believe in the power of love.

A challenge many of us face, each year, is putting together out self-assessment for our annual performance review. The reason is that most of us wait until we actually have to submit the document before we start to create it. That means you will be trying to remember what exactly it was you were doing three, five, or ten months ago.

This is where the “Love File” comes in. It is where you stash those emails, certificates, and notes-to-yourself that shows how much you have been appreciated or have accomplished. How much people have “loved” your abilities, your work, or your deeds.

You receive an email that reads “Thanks for the good work. I will go on any SSM session with either of you in a heartbeat. Your preparation was superb.” Or “There are excellent training sessions. Thanks for sending.” Print them out and put them in your “Love File”.

What about verbal thanks? If you remember, ask them if they wouldn’t mind putting their thanks in a short note or email. Sure, you aren’t going to get everyone to do that, and frankly, sometimes it may just not be appropriate to ask. No matter, just jot down a quick note-to-yourself with who thanked you, when, why, and a close approximation of what they actually said.

Here is another helpful way to use your “Love File”. When you have printed something out or jotted down a note, include on it the company’s strategic goal or objective that it supports. Why? Well when you write that self-assessment, your boss (and your company) will be more impressed with outcomes and impact rather than just activity. So that means knowing that the love you are getting from colleagues and customers is related directly to meeting the larger goals of the organization. It really gives those thank-you’s the kind of impact that helps you with your assessment, as well as your career.

Another great thing about the “Love File”? If you are having a down day and need a little boost, take a couple of minutes to look over your “Love File”. Not like a valentine, maybe, but I’m sure it’ll make you feel better.

Just one word of warning, keeping in the spirit of the day. Make sure that if you tell someone that they are going in your “Love File” that you explain exactly what that means. There is always enough confusion around Valentine’s Day as it is.

Signed,

Your Secret Admirer

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