Thanks to Steve Gamlin for sharing this post.
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Celebrate Small Victories.
I should add the word ‘appropriately’ to this article’s title, as I have friends who love to challenge my positive messages with their own special responses, such as: “Hey Steve, I lost two pounds last week…so I ate a cake. That’s a good celebration, right?”
Yes, this really happens.
And no, my friends…that is not a good celebration.
As you rock your path toward success (whatever that looks like for you), busting your butt to achieve your goals, do you remember to celebrate the incremental victories along the way…appropriately?
Despite what many people may trumpet, I don’t believe that life is an ‘all or nothing’ game.
When you participate in a 5-K, does the starter’s pistol go off and then abandon you, with no human contact or support, until the finish line?
At the events in which I have participated, there are people stationed randomly along the course with water, snacks, towels…and shouts of encouragement at each marker!
I believe that celebrating ‘progress’ can keep us in the game, focused forward, and fuel our momentum.
According to the article “Why You Should Celebrate Everything” (at PsychologyToday.com):
“These moments of celebration make us pause and be mindful, and that boosts our well-being.
According to social psychology researcher Fred Bryant and others, when we stop to savor the good stuff, we buffer ourselves against the bad and build resilience—and even mini-celebrations can plump up the positive emotions which make it easier to manage the daily challenges that cause major stress. When we have something to look forward to or look ahead to something worth celebrating, we feel more optimistic, according to research led by Hadassah Littman-Ovadia.”
One of my most accomplished Vision Board coaching clients is Jennifer.
When she shared with me during her company’s annual live Vision Board event that one of her biggest goals was a safari trip to Africa, we began breaking down this elephant-sized endeavor into manageable chunks.
After determining that she would need to ramp up her part-time business (she is an Athena’s Goddess, look them up) to create $5000 in savings this year, I devised a way to track and celebrate her progress…which also allowed her to enjoy the process.
Here’s how simple it was:
1) We created a special hashtag (#Giraffrica) which she uses when she posts all updates.
2) I discovered a picture of a giraffe in a children’s coloring book. It has 12 spots, 10 of which now have “$500” on them, and the other two have her name as well as her partner’s.
3) Every time her bank account reaches the next $500, she does a live broadcast for her team…and colors in another circle.
4) We even have a celebration when she has $250.00 in earnings: #HalfGiraffe
Does that sound silly?
Is it keeping her focused on the larger goal while motivating her to keep doing the little things every week to get there?
Too many people delay gratification until full realization of their goal has occurred, as though acknowledging even a hint of success prior to the final stage will somehow diminish the results.
Sadly, I believe that leaves many people confused, unsure of how much progress they have made, or how much farther they need to travel to declare victory.
I prefer to view it as a long journey made up of multiple stages, which is why Jennifer and I created her #Giraffrica progress tracking system.
Sometimes, when we set monstrous desired outcomes (‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ is a common phrase in my industry) it can be hard to stay motivated, to keep that fire burning, or maintain our momentum.
Things can seem overwhelming, especially if we see our skill sets, abilities, and deservedness as underwhelming.
What I’ve done over the past few years, which has been a big help, is create small celebrations to honor the progress I am making for each of my goals. They don’t have to be huge, but they are benchmarks that remind me, especially during the struggles, that I am always edging closer to realization.
Have you ever seen a local business or non-profit launch a massive fundraising effort, complete with a giant thermometer to chart progress for all the world to see?
And that’s a great thing.
If you are on a healthy weight-loss journey, celebrate the pounds lost periodically…not by eating a cupcake (or a whole cake, like my ‘funny’ friends do), but with a high-five, a finger-point, and a smile in the mirror or a victorious fist-pump.
Then let that joy keep you fired up for the next few pounds lost.
And this strategy is not just for us ‘regular’ people, but for superstars as well.
Recently I saw a video clip of Tiger Woods sinking a 71-foot putt. Beyond being an amazing shot, what I loved most was Tiger’s reaction: a great big smile and a finger-point in victory.
It was just one of 18 holes in that round, but I love that he took a few seconds to celebrate that great ‘moment’.
So many athletes, and business professionals, seem to be so overly serious that I often wonder if they remember to enjoy their journeys.
At that moment, Tiger did.
What steps will you take today toward just one of your goals…and how will you celebrate the progress?
From experience, I can assure you that those little ‘moments’ can help keep you going when times get tough, or when you wonder if you’re even still on the right path.
What could you celebrate…today?
For the record, I was rocking out to Leon Russell’s “Pisces Apple Lady” when I realized this article had reached the number of words required.
There may have been a fist-pump or two.
But I didn’t eat any cake.