I checked in on a friend recently to see how he was doing. After listing off an impressive amount of achievements, he concluded his week was “All small stuff with no 100% wins.”

That blew me away, because he couldn’t see all the progress and growth obvious to me.

To him, it all felt small, with nothing big enough to celebrate. He described it as feeling “slow” while his progress suggested the opposite of slow.

I related.

Does this happen to you?

I’ve felt slow this week, too. Maybe clouded is a better description.

His words sparked me and I immediately responded, “Wow, that’s a lot of progress!”

At that moment, I saw my situation differently. Just seeing someone else’s progress with more clarity caused me to realize I was not seeing my progress.

I quickly reflected on the last month, the last quarter, and the last year. I spent maybe 5 minutes comparing and contrasting my situation and thinking about the journey I’ve been on.

Just a few minutes of looking back — and looking for the good — brought clarity to my progress. I realized that the small steps are adding up to visible improvement.

When we make time to see our progress, we get three benefits:

  1. Finishing feels good
  2. We see proof of our own value
  3. Progress reveals pathway

We know the reward for solving problems is fresh, harder problems to solve. Conflict is the byproduct of progress. And sometimes, solving problems and resolving conflict gets us down, because we don’t see how the small wins compound into remarkable growth.

Progress sometimes feels small and is easy to overlook.

The conversation with my friend was enough to remind me to reconnect with my value. It helped turn a stressful week focused on the negative into a week of excitement about the next steps and where my journey leads.

I feel good at the end of the week and I want you to feel good, too.

That’s why I challenge you to tell me something good whenever we connect (including the start of each office hour session).

Take a moment right now to pause, reflect, and see your progress.

You’re doing great!

About the Author Michael Santarcangelo

The founder of Security Catalyst, Michael develops exceptional leaders and powerful communicators with the security mindset for success.

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