Tuesday, January 09, 2007
This is a tool I've recommended for years to my students. It is much more useful than you could possibly imagine. One of the first requirements for a new consultant, but also required by any one that needs a boost in creativity.
Simply put, a Hero File is the place you deposit any and all positive remarks about YOU. It's your casche of stories and solutions, your depository of clippings and articles, comments and legends.
When someone writes you a thank-you note, usually it makes you feel good, you may even place it on the coffee table or a shelf so you can view it for a while. Then somehow, it gets chucked, lost, thrown away---after all, the glow is gone, right? Instead put it in your hero file.
Someone gives you a fine compliment on work you've done for them. It's verbal, they said it with conviction, they appreciate you, you helped them....for that time period you were their hero. Jot a note paraphrasing what they said. Put their name and the date on it---and slip it into your Hero File. Otherwise, you'll forget it tomorow, and any benefit from this praise will be lost to time.
You find an article that is really inspirational to you. It made you view your world and work in a new light. Place it in the Hero File for YOUR posterity. If it's an article that mentions you and your work, by all means---that's a keeper. It could be a simple passing blurb, a mere sentence---keep it. If you get a lauditory e-mail (one of the most ephemeril of passing notions) you should print it out and save it in---you got it---your Hero File.
This is so much more than a "pat on the back" or make you feel good about yourself excersize.
Ive had students tell me YEARS later that they still keep a Hero File, that it was one of the most cherished possessions in their lives.
You see, we are often too critical of ourselves, and creativity dies under criticism. The world is not famous for accolades, and it is all too rare that people get recognition. When these fortunate "good haps" occur, save them, keep them handy for those cloudy days, those days when you feel you're not a match for some challenge, the days when a setback occurs,--- turn to them when you need to remember that you're a creative force in the world.
I recently spoke to a new consultant that was preparing to put his shingle up. He didn't know where to start, though he had many ideas budding in his head. I told him to start a Hero File.
Start remembering all the solutions he found for collegues in the past and write a report about what happened. How did he help them? What was the problem and his advice to solve it? How did he successfully consult them (before being paid for his advice). What was the response from these collegues? Did they compliment him, thank him and generate some positive response? Make note of any qauntifiable results, the added profits, the greater community involvment, the time saved. All of this should go into a Hero File.
Before long he would have the beginnings of several papers concerning solutions he found. He could turn them into reports, chapters, white papers, e-mails. But more importantly, it would give him a clear view of his own capacity to consult, he'd see that he had already been doing this thing called "consult", even while he may have been in the employ of someone else.
We constantly solve problems and come up with creative ideas and solutions.
We used to think this was just "part of the job", and gave them away for a simple salary. Now we must construct ourselves all over again and become like new. We must garner these accomplishment into a place where we can use them, be reminded of them, allow them to lift our spirits and spur us on to new growth.
Don't depend on your memory to capture these moments of glory.
Start consciously working to recreate them and save them in a simple form called The Hero File. This is a private place of recognition for your eyes only. Don't let the old Puritan ethic of modesty rule your actions in this regard. Let your chest out, hold your head high, fill your heart full of pride, a solid sense of self-worth---and keep it all in that Hero File!
When you open it next year or the year after, it will help you soar!