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The “Feel Good” File for “Feeling Bad” Days

April 6, 2011

Back in the day when I was a young, unjaded professional and newly starting my career, I received a helpful tip from one of my first supervisors and mentors (Deanna was her name). That suggestion was to create a “Feel Good” file.

Here is the genesis of my “Feel Good” file. I received a very nice note from a manager at my workplace thanking me for the work I did on a project. Happy to receive such an accolade, I showed it to Deanna, who she smiled brightly, congratulated me, and said, “Be sure to put that in for your ‘Feel Good’ file.”

My what? I asked.

Deanna explained that everyone needs a file folder containing all the thank you notes, congratulatory messages, and well wishes you receive at work. She encouraged me to keep those happy notes so when I have a bad day, I simply pull out my “Feel Good” file, read the notes, and inevitably I’ll feel so much better.

I followed Deanna’s advice and have been keeping the same “Feel Good” file since that day in 1997. I love to look through the items I’ve saved – cards from former supervisors as I’ve left positions; a “welcome” card that was attached to a bouquet of flowers from someone I least expected when I started a new job; even a hand-written note from a former California governor’s chief of staff that specifically mentioned my contribution to a project.

I always encouraged my staff to create their own “Feel Good” files for that same purpose. Knowing how much those notes have meant to me over the years, I always try to write hand-written notes to colleagues that help me create successful projects.

I still pull out my “Feel Good” file every now and then, when I’m feeling blue or simply need a pick-me-up. And it always helps. So start your “Feel Good” file today. You’ll be glad you did on your next gloomy day.

A few items from my “Feel Good” file.
28 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2011 11:06 pm

    Deanna explained that everyone needs a file folder containing all the thank you notes, congratulatory messages, and well wishes you receive at work. She encouraged me to keep those happy notes so when I have a bad day, I simply pull out my “Feel Good” file, read the notes, and inevitably I’ll feel so much better.
    This is the best ever, and I am going to do this! Thanks for the idea!

  2. April 7, 2011 1:59 am

    That is brilliant. Deanna was great for encouraging you, and you have been brilliant for passing the advice on to others. I love reading positive things. 🙂

    • Leah permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:52 pm

      Thank you so much! And I agree Deanna was great for encouraging me. Thanks for reading.

  3. April 7, 2011 4:49 am

    i could have used that advice 20 years ago! i hope its not too late for me to start.

    • Leah permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:51 pm

      It’s never too late! Get out your folder and notes!

  4. April 7, 2011 5:00 am

    Great post Leah! I love the “feel good” file idea. I have a folder I keep at work of thank you notes from students from over the years. When I’m having one of those “feeling bad” moments (or just unmotivated moments), I take a quick look and remember, oh yeah, that’s why I come to this place every day!

    • Leah permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:51 pm

      That’s great. I’m sure having notes from your students is so rewarding. Speaking from my perspective, I do sometimes forget I wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for the students and the fact I work on a college campus. It does bring a smile to my face many times.

  5. April 7, 2011 5:29 am

    A few years back I started something like this. Mine is a pretty cork board I covered with cloth and ribbon. Whenever I receive a thank you note at completion of work for a client, I post it to the board. When people step into my office for the first time they are always drawn to this board, stuffed with colorful thank you’s and photos of me with my happy clients. AndwhenI am sitting in my office, perhaps having a stressful day, all I have to do is look up at this board and my mood lightens as I am reminded of all the good I’ve done and those I’ve helped.
    We tend to recall all the ‘bad’ days when we are down. Thanks for reminding us we need to keep mementoes of the best days, Leah. Good post.

    • Leah permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:48 pm

      I love that idea of displaying the colorful cards on a display board. A nice way to bring color and decoration to the office, while being reminded of happy times. I just may buy a cork board this weekend. Thanks!

  6. April 7, 2011 6:55 am

    How I wish I’d started this years ago! I am definitely going to take some time to “re-create” a feel good file and then continue adding to it. Thanks for passing along this fabulous idea!

    • Leah permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:46 pm

      It’s not as daunting as it sounds. Lots of the notes I have in my file are just printed e-mails that I’ve kept. Just learning about you and reading your work, I’m sure you’d have many!

  7. April 7, 2011 9:50 am

    This is a great practice. In addition to notes, you can also keep a journal of blessings, and things that have worked themselves out in a positive manner. When you do this, you are able to look back and see how much you’ve overcome!

    • Leah permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:45 pm

      Thanks for commenting. I love this suggestion! Thank you!

  8. April 7, 2011 10:52 am

    Awwww, I hope you’re not having a “feeling bad” day ;-/ Have another triple shot :-O” ❤U, Boo.
    I have a drawer in which I’ve kept many of yours’, Ellyes’, Saris’ and Kaylis’ tidbits. Remember suemenagotchi? (sound it out phonetically)

    • Leah permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:44 pm

      I do remember suemenagotchi! I think Sari specialized in that. By the way, I also have a box at home with all the nice cards and notes you have given me too. But the real entertaining ones are from Ellye, Sari and Kayli.

  9. April 7, 2011 2:23 pm

    I always had one of these, as well, and when I left a particular job, I had forgotten it was filed away (labeled “Thank Yous To Me). ha ha… At any rate, my predecessor was nice enough to send it along to me when she discovered it one day. I stopped chronicling those notes when I began freelancing 10 years ago, but really should put THOSE accolades in a folder, too. Thanks for the reminder. It’s a good ego boost once in a while!

    • Leah permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:42 pm

      That’s so nice your predecessor sent the file to you. Yes, keep your accolades!

  10. April 7, 2011 2:34 pm

    I’ve heard this idea before, but I always procrastinate. Shame on me. But in a way, my blog serves as a feel good file. I often go back through old posts and read the comments. They always make me smile.

    • Leah permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:41 pm

      I know what you mean about your blog as a feel good file. I’ve really enjoyed going back and re-reading my older posts too. It’s also fun to see how my posts have evolved over the years.

  11. April 7, 2011 11:32 pm

    Leah, what a stimulating idea! I actually have a file in my Outlook account at work, titled, “Thank you emails,” but I’d been keeping it for my yearly review. LOL! I’ve never thought of keeping such an in-depth file for a pick-me-up. This brought a smile to my face and I cannot wait to begin one of my own! Thanks for the great tip.

    • Leah permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:40 pm

      Thanks, Shari. I love my file of notes. And not because they are compliments to me. But also because they remind me of happy work times too. You’ll enjoy looking at it later.

  12. Deanna permalink
    April 8, 2011 8:46 am

    Hi Leah,
    So glad you were inspired to keep a file. I still have mine, 20 years later! Thanks for telling me about the post, fun to see my note of a decade ago.
    Hope you’re well.

    • Leah permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:39 pm

      Thank you, Deanna! And that’s not the only note of yours I’ve kept all these years.

  13. Lena permalink
    April 11, 2011 6:22 am

    Love this! I have an email version called “Praise” but I like the idea of hard copies too! I’ll start now!

    • Leah permalink*
      April 11, 2011 12:21 pm

      There’s just something about hard copies that make you feel better than e-mail (most days).

  14. April 14, 2011 7:52 pm

    ooohhhh …. being a person whose love language is words … this would be a wonderful idea. Even as a mom, I get little notes everynow and then and it would be delightful to have a little treasure box full of warm fuzzies. Especially on those days when life’s a bit ho-hum. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    • Leah permalink*
      April 16, 2011 8:56 pm

      I love that idea – to create a mom’s feel good file. I can imagine how nice it is to read all those little notes and drawings. Thanks for the idea.


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