Whether you’re applying for a job, pitching your services to a client, networking, or telling your boss why you need a raise or new position, it’s more effective if you can tell an “accomplishment story.”
I’ll explain what I mean, provide an example, and describe how to come up with your accomplishment story.
What Is an Accomplishment Story?
Think of a time when you were presented with a challenge and you did something that got great results, AND you enjoyed the process.
Your story would include a description of the situation, the actions you took, the positive results, and why you are passionate about it.
You know it’s a good story to use if it makes you smile when you tell it.
A final version to use would be a condensed version that makes the key points, and still contains enough to make you feel good when you tell it.
When you tell your accomplishment story, the listener’s eyebrows will go up in that way that says “Oooh, I need that!” or “That’s so interesting, I might know a place where they need those talents.” or simply, “Tell me more.”
A story is better than telling a list of talents, or a plea for why you should get the job.
People can relate to a concrete story better than almost anything else you say in that meeting. And when you share something that makes your heart happy, it shows and they really listen and remember you.
What Story Should You Choose?
Of course you have many accomplishments (I know you do even if you’re sure you don’t). So which one do you choose to keep up your sleeve for those key moments?
Don’t just choose a story you think they want to hear. Choose a story that describes a part of you that you most want to bring to the world. Something that naturally makes you smile.
There’s no point in sharing a story about something you don’t care to ever do again. Right?
Ideally, you’ll know what your favorite superpower is so you can tell a story that shows that off.
Accomplishment Story Example
Here’s an accomplishment story I like to share about my own experience. I have permission to share this story.
I have an introverted business owner client who first came to me because she had felt stuck for years around marketing her business on the web. It felt too exposing and too important to get it “wrong.”
So together we finished the final wording on her website to make sure it felt right for her and her ideal audience. We found a stretch zone that still felt doable. I also gave her web designer some optimization instructions.
Almost as soon as her new website launched, people started calling and saying they found her in Google and loved her website. Business started taking off even in the midst of a down economy.
Now we continue working together on her other business development needs. She’s more booked up than ever — and glowing more than ever because she’s doing more of the work she loves.
And I am thrilled about it because I get to be connected to her success at living her calling.
Finding your accomplishment story…
Has the critic in your head got a hold of you, saying you haven’t accomplished much? I don’t buy it! Don’t listen to that critic.
Here’s something to try. Start by listing at least 10 accomplishments, big or small. Start with basics to get the ball rolling, like graduating from college, getting a job, getting your picky five-year-old to eat broccoli, etc. Keep going.
Then circle the ones that really make you smile. There’s a starting place.
Everyone has accomplishment stories.
I actually tell some of my coaching clients to write an accomplishment list every night because you can find something every day if you are paying attention. A simple list of three items each night can do wonders to quiet that critic in your mind. (What a relief.)
Plus you start to see more regularly all that you DO indeed accomplish. It’s good for the soul, and can make it easier to find those stories when you need it.
What if you don’t know what you want to focus on?
Often when I go over this story idea with people, they start to realize that many of their stories are not making them smile, or they don’t seem relevant to what they might want to do for their career.
Actually, they most often start to see they aren’t even sure what they want to be doing, and the whole idea of networking or promoting something feels off.
That’s when it’s time to step back and reassess what you want. You can figure out what will make your heart happy and pay the bills too. Those two things can go together. Some of the related posts below will help.