Why I Have a “Hooray” File and You Need One, Too

There’s a lot of bad career advice in the world. But early in my career I read an article with this tip: Any time you get significant praise, drop it into a file marked “Hooray.” Then, when you have a bad day, pull out your hooray file and flip through it. It will remind you of all the great things you’ve done and all the great people you work with.

I’ve been doing this for well over a decade and it really works. Not only does it help lift my mood on a tough day, but it also comes in handy at performance review time. Also a simple way to help you keep your LinkedIn profile updated.

Your hooray file can be paper or electronic — I actually have both. I have an email folder since most praise comes that way now, and then a paper folder for notes and such. I actually keep some of the physical notes up on the wall over my desk in my home office. It’s a real mood and confidence booster. You can also send yourself an email or jot down when you get verbal praise.

Forbes even recommends a version of this tactic as a way to overcome “impostor syndrome” — the feeling that you are a fraud and the fear that you will be exposed. The article recommends “owning your success” by making a list of everything you’ve accomplished. This exercise becomes even more powerful when you add items to the list that have come directly from your colleagues and supervisors.

What are you waiting for? Start a hooray file today. You’ll be glad you did.