The Importance of an “Atta Girl (or Boy!)” File

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Years ago, when I was still working in media planning, I got a positive e-mail from one of my supervisors one day. It made such an impression on me that I was telling a few of my co-workers about it at lunch and they told me I definitely needed to put that in my “Atta Girl!” file.

A what? I asked.

They explained to me that I needed to keep a folder on my desk labeled “Atta Girl” and every time I got a positive note from a client or supervisor, I should print it out and stick it in that file. Whenever I was having a stressful day, I could take out that file, look through it, and it would help boost my self-esteem. While researching the topic for this post, I even came across an article online that talks about how keeping such a file is a good way to stay organized when the time comes to polish up your resume. It also helps you keep track of compliments you can later turn into testimonials for your website or blog.

It seems like such a simple concept in theory, but how many of us really do it? Unfortunately, a lot of times, the negative messages and responses to our work are the ones that stay with us the longest. I’ve decided to make it a priority in the next year to consolidate my “Atta Girls!” into one folder in my e-mail. Right now I have testimonials and nice notes kind of scattered everywhere on my hard drive and they're not doing me much good. The other day I even received a rejection from a book editor that was so kind and personable that I’m saving it because it brought a smile to my face when I read it.

Here is an example of an "Atta Girl" that I've moved over into that file:

I read your article yesterday and it was amazing. I've received such great 
feedback from the community already, lots of people read the article and want 
to learn more about Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). I can honestly say I have done a lot of interviews 
over the past few years and the article you wrote was the best. I could tell 
you truly cared about our mission to help children and I thank you for helping 
us get the message out.  

Okay, your turn! What are some examples of things you keep in your “Atta Girl/Boy!” file?

 Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor who also blogs at Renee's Pages. Learn more about her at


Sclew said...

This is such a good idea. I have read that it takes several positive comments to counteract one negative comment. Having an "Atta Girl" file is a good resource for coping with rejection notices. Thanks for sharing the idea.

Renee Roberson said...

@ Sclew--I think you are completely right that it takes several positive comments to counteract the negative. Sad, but true, and all the more reason to collect as many Atta Girls! as we can. Thanks for stopping by!

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