Thu, 10 November 2022
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we bring on LeeAnne Rimel, Senior Director of Admin Evangelism at Salesforce, to share how you can build a “Brag Book” to capture your wins and successes.
Join us as we talk about why it’s so important to put all your successes in one place, how to get started, and how to feel comfortable talking about your accomplishments.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with LeeAnne Rimel.
What is a Brag Book?
“Imagine you’re getting ready for your end-of-year or end-of-quarter review with your boss,” LeeAnne says. It can be hard to remember what you were doing last month, let alone the last six months or last year.
“That’s where the Brag Book comes in,” LeeAnne says, “it’s a place to collect your wins, your accomplishments, your project completions, your accolades, or awards, or feedback, throughout the year.” By putting everything together as it happens to you, you’ll be ready whenever you need to talk about your career. “It’s one of those chances to do future you a favor.”
Building your bragging muscle
You need to get in the habit of saving positive feedback whenever you come across it, like building a muscle. When she first started her Brag Book, LeeAnne used a private slide deck with a slide for each project. Then she could simply drop in whatever she came across that was worth keeping, whether qualitative (like an appreciative YouTube comment) or quantitative (like attendance or adoption numbers).
These days, LeeAnne uses a private Slack channel with herself, with threads to organize everything into individual projects. “It doesn’t really matter where your bucket is,” she says, “pick your place, make it easy to get to, and then practice building it into your muscle memory.”
Shine a light on your collaborators
It can be hard to get into the mindset of bragging about your accomplishments. If you’re used to working behind the scenes, it might feel weird to step into the spotlight. “It’s really not about you, it’s about the work and the impact that it’s having,” LeeAnne says, “and it’s helpful for the people around you to know if that work is impactful or not, if that’s something they might be able to learn from for their own work, and if that information might influence decisions that are coming up for them.”
Nobody works in a silo. Even if you’re a solo admin, you have partners who help you succeed. Capturing the story of a successful project gives you a chance to not only talk about your work but also to shine a light on other people who deserve credit. Getting the opportunity to give those well-deserved kudos can make anyone feel like bragging.
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Full show transcript
Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and I am joined by the wonderful LeeAnne Rimel. Hi LeeAnne.
LeeAnne Rimel: Hi Gillian.
Gillian Bruce: Thank you for joining me. We are going to be talking about something that you posted on Twitter not too long ago as a thread and just took off and got a bunch of attention. And we're going to talk about this idea of creating a personal brag book. But before we get into all that, I want to set the context for our listeners. So admins, you're listening to this, it's getting towards the end of the year. You did a lot of great things this year, whether it was for your organization or for your personal career, and it's a really good time to think about all those contributions you made, all the work you did. And I know it's really hard sometimes to capture that work and then share that. It's one of the reasons we built the Salesforce admin skills kit to help try and give you some language around that. But I really wanted to get LeeAnne on the podcast today to talk really about how you can build this idea of a brag book to help you capture what you're doing, capture your wins and successes. So LeeAnne, can you give us an overview of what a brag book is?
LeeAnne Rimel: I sure can. So imagine you are getting ready for your end of year or end of quarter review with your boss or with your manager, or you are wrapping up a project, maybe a three month or six month project, and you're getting ready for your postmortem report to your team or your leadership. Or imagine your thinking about leveling up your career, whether that's applying for a job internally at your company, looking for jobs elsewhere, looking to go into that next role. Sometimes it can be really hard to sit there and say, "Okay, what did I do the last 12 months? What are all the things I did in the last three months?" A lot of us, especially Salesforce admins, are often moving really fast. We move really quickly through project, through work. People are working a lot.
Gillian Bruce: So one of the things that I think you hit on is that you're doing this throughout the year because like you said, I do the same thing. I'm like, "Cool, so what did I just spend the last nine months working on? I don't know, I think I did that." But your concept is capturing that in the moment. And so how do you capture it? What are you saving? Where does it live? Talk to me a little bit about how you approach that.
LeeAnne Rimel: So it's definitely a muscle that you build. It's this muscle that you build of constantly being aware of inputs in your environment, whether that's a feedback note, whether that's a great survey result, whether that's user adoption training that you had really high participation on, and all of your sales leaders were so happy about it because everyone used Salesforce after. So whatever it is, creating that muscle of, okay, I'm going to collect this somewhere. So, where you collect it is totally up to. So when Gillian and I both started doing this many years ago because our team leader Mike Gerholdt said, "You guys need to create brag books." And so we created brag books, and at the time we started them in, I think Google Slides, and this was not a beautiful automated solution. This was a place to put things.
Gillian Bruce: I think the idea of putting it somewhere that's really easy because I think for me, especially when we use the Google Slides, I've always felt this pressure to make it look pretty when I put it in, but the idea now... The private Slack channel's brilliant. I think now I need to start doing that because I literally just have a Quip doc where I just paste stuff and paste feedback, which has worked fine, but the Slack thing I think makes it even more accessible and easy. I love that. So that's a great tip and I think everybody uses Slack so it's super easy.
LeeAnne Rimel: I love private Slack channels. I also have a private Slack channel just for call notes, which I highly recommend as well. But yeah, private Slack channels are great, especially if you get comfortable with Slack Search and how to use Slack Search quickly because then you'll surface stuff just really fast when you're looking for things if you are trying to create a specific preso on here's what we learned with this project or this presentation.
Gillian Bruce: And one thing that I also want to address is some people might feel weird about the idea of bragging, right? Because it's not comfortable sometimes to talk about how great you are and all the great things that you do. But here's the thing, if you don't do it, no one is going to do it for you. And I know it might be uncomfortable, I think for some of us, myself included, this is not hard. This is a natural muscle that I have had since I was, I don't even know, able to walk and talk. But often when I talk about this or just in general sharing your accomplishments, I usually get people being like, "I don't know, that feels uncomfortable and weird," but you got to do it. And it's not all about you, you, you, how great you are. I think the biggest thing is focusing on the impact.
LeeAnne Rimel: I was really uncomfortable with it. I was super uncomfortable. I was like, "No, I do my work." My background is I've always had pretty technical roles and the mindset I had was very much, I do my work, I did my project, the work speaks for itself. And that's that. It was a mindset shift for me to think about... It's almost remove yourself from the equation like you're saying. Because I was like, "Oh, it feels weird to just sit and talk about a project I worked on, and the information's available. People could have watched the webinar if they were interested. So why do I need to talk about why it was great?" And I suffered from being just incredibly illogical. And there's a few things that helped me overcome that hurdle.
Gillian Bruce: 100%. And one thing that you said about helping, getting the feedback and sharing it with your peer groups to help them work better, it's also a way to shine light on others too, right? Because it's empathetic for your manager, it helps them understand all the great work you're doing, the impact you're having, but it's also a way to propel the work that other people you're working with are doing. Nobody works in a silo, so even if you're the only admin in your organization, you guarantee have partners. Maybe you got a super user who's just fantastic at helping you QA stuff. Maybe you've got an IT partner who is just always helping you figure out new ways to take advantage of different technologies or whatever. I mean, you've got partners that you work with, and so when you capture the story of a success, clearly it's work you did, but it's work that you did as a team.
LeeAnne Rimel: I want everyone to brag online about what they're doing. No, I think that's such an important part is it's not just about you and it's about amplifying others too. I'll say as someone who wasn't initially comfortable and had to learn to do this, definitely one of the on ramps. And one of, to this day, my very favorite Slack posts are the ones where I get to go through and itemize all the great contributions that happened on a project and all of the people who were involved with it and what their contributions were. And so I think definitely building that bragging habit, it's not just about you, it's also being able to, like you said, shine a light on others and also be good to work with. I think there's a piece too. A lot of people aren't amplified enough at work and maybe don't get as much visibility for projects that they're working on.
Gillian Bruce: 100%, that's the other piece of this, is what are the results of building the brag book and sharing it is that people are going to want to work with you. People are going to trust you, people are going to want to be associated with stuff that you're working on because you are projecting that you are successful and that you are collaborative. And I think that's a really, really important element as well. So all in all, create a brag book.
LeeAnne Rimel: And I know we're coming off on time, but I want to share one last piece because you mentioned something really important about that confidence and that mindset. And I think it's about how building a brag book and building this habit and this muscle of how do I amplify my work and how do I document and then amplify my work? is so important for our career growth. It's important for how our peers work with us and view us and view working with us, but it's also really important for how we view ourselves. So I'm a big proponent, I very much believe in some of these science based tools for how you can influence your mindset. And one of the ways positive thinking truly does make a difference, I think it does impact how you show up every day. And there's many, many blogs and many, many podcasts and books on this topic.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah, you got to be your own hype person sometimes, right? It's a good natural way to get that little boost of confidence and that yes, you can do this, you can do this. And I know we have talked on the podcast and in the admin community for many years about the idea of imposter syndrome and really owning your skills and your abilities and going for things that you typically wouldn't. Building a brag book, to your point, LeeAnne is a great way, it's an asset in that it helps you overcome some of that and deal with those feelings a little bit better.
LeeAnne Rimel: It is evidence that you're good at your job. It is documentation and evidence and quantitative and qualitative real feedback that you did a thing that was... Many of us are often doing new things at work. So maybe it was a new thing, maybe it was a thing you've been working on for a while. You did a thing and there was positive outcomes from it and you did a good job.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I love that. Well, I'm sure we could actually probably keep talking about this for hours, I think we have actually talked about this for hours in the past, you and I LeeAnne, but I think we shared some really good stuff today. The idea's a brag book and then what were your three elements that help you overcome, get used to building the brag book muscle? It was what? Pop quiz, end of the podcast.
LeeAnne Rimel: I came up with it in the moment. I think one is, it's not about you. So de-center yourself from thinking about what it means to document accomplishments of the work you've been doing, which sounds weird, but it works.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Focus on the impact.
LeeAnne Rimel: Focus on the impact, yeah. And then the second is it's very helpful to your leadership team. It's something that your leadership probably needs you to do and wants you to do, whether or not they know to have asked you. Oh, and if there's any people leaders listening, tell your people to make a brag book. And then three is it's a chance to help your peers, your colleagues, because you're sharing things that worked and you're sharing maybe things that you all figured out on a project or things that had a significant positive impact. So it can maybe help people that you work without if they're trying to make a decision.
Gillian Bruce: And then people are going to want to play with you. They're going to want to work on stuff with you, so it's all good. Awesome. Well, leeAnne, thank you so much for joining us today on the podcast. I really appreciate you sharing, you bragging about your brag book skills.
LeeAnne Rimel: [inaudible].
Gillian Bruce: Awesome. Well, thank you so much.
LeeAnne Rimel: Thanks for having me.
Gillian Bruce: All thanks as always to LeeAnne for joining us on the podcast. I could talk to her forever. In fact, I do on a daily basis, if you couldn't tell. Really great discussion about how to create your own brag book. Hopefully you heard some things that help inspire you to capture your successes and the impact that you're having in the work that you do. And if you need any help with that, feel free to reach out to myself or LeeAnne, we will gladly help coach you on how to do that better. But I wanted to take a moment and make a shout out. Thank you to Mark Jones on Twitter who actually commented on LeeAnne's original thread about this saying, "Hey, this sounds like it'd make a good podcast. What do you think?" Well, thank you, Mark. We just made a podcast. I hope you like it.