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Chasing the Dream: How far have you come?

It’s natural to focus in on the minutia of daily life. But in doing so, we miss out on the big picture.

If you are so busy focusing on the daily challenges of working at home with kids, you might miss a big professional win. It’s time to take a closer look.

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a friend and said something about 2012 being a particularly rough year for my career. I said it without thinking, and her response made me rethink my words (though I said otherwise at the time). Has 2012 really been that bad?

Honestly, no. In fact, the overall trend of this year was upward and onward. Yes, I started 2012 out with a colossal parting of ways with a valued client. But I survived and thrived, weathering budget cuts, picking up more work and getting some important notice by some great publications.

While 2012 wasn’t the walking-on-air year I would have liked it to be, it was still a good year. And really, I have come so far personally and professionally.

Evaluating where we are

It’s so easy to write off the good things that happen and get caught up in the little hurts and fails. But doing so is a disservice to ourselves and missing out on a chance to honor accomplishments — and teach our kids to do the same.

Take a step back and make a list of all the good things you’ve accomplished and achieved — whether it’s over the last month, few months or year. Then think about it in context — how did the good relate to the bad? Are you better off now?

Also, make celebrating accomplishments a regular part of your life going forward. You could do this by sharing them at family meals or creating family goal charts, says Erin Baebler, a coach who works with women to explore their potential and move through transitions. Even small ones are worth recognizing.

“It really is all about creating habits for yourself and also recognizing that it’s worth the time it takes to stop and commend yourself. Think how great our kids feel when we give them a compliment about something they’ve worked hard on. We deserve to give ourselves the same recognition,” says Baebler.

Ellie Hirsch of Mommy Masters, a resource for parents who want to create a flourishing family environment, says that women should recognize their accomplishments and use them as motivation. “As we complete something important to us, use that positive feeling as an inspiration to achieve even more,” says Hirsch.

Celebrating success

When you do something great, Hirsch says that moms should reward themselves — just as they would their children. “Whether you have crossed off an item on your ever-growing to-do list, landed a big account at work, taught your child how to potty train, or are following your dreams, don’t downplay your success and instead, celebrate each and every accomplishment,” says Hirsch.

A few ideas for rewarding your good news? Hirsch suggests a manicure, a special lunch or a girl’s night out. “It’s important to give yourself a pat on the back once in a while… you deserve it,” says Hirsch.

More from Chasing the Dream

Managing your priorities
Why you need a mentor — and how to find one

How Jaden Hair achieved her dreams

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