I want to sound the music and release the balloons – in a world where it feels we have not much to celebrate, I’m here to stand for celebrating our success!
Celebrating success is one of the quickest and delightful growth hacks for life and business.
It feels like the inverse should be true – we should save celebrations for the big stuff. But dosing out gratitude and acknowledgement like there’s only a fixed amount to go around is a limiting mindset. Being hard on yourself and stingy with celebrating the wins, milestones, and small steps along the way actually starves you of the fuel to keep going.
I saw this in the villages where I worked. Celebrating wins is a huge part of building the momentum to achieve the big stuff. People set a big vision for ending their hunger, and then break it down to small steps. Setting up the first tippy-tap water post so people could wash their hands was celebrated. Building the first latrine in the village was celebrated. Now was there a lot more to do? Of course! But acknowledging the progress along the way is key to keeping on going. It is the antidote to overwhelm and despair.
Research backs this up. In a work environment, what do you think is the #1 motivational tool for people or teams? Is it more money or other reward? Being noticed and acknowledged? Having clear guidelines and KPIs?
Research by Harvard Professor Teresa Amabile showed that progress is the most empowering motivator. Progress is feeling like you’ve made some step in achieving something meaningful. It doesn’t have to be big or significant – small wins along the way are very empowering. This is called the “progress principle”.
In developing a mindset of acknowledging progress, the following might be helpful.
- When you’ve achieved something, even if it’s a milestone along the way to a greater goal, acknowledge and celebrate it. Take the time to reflect and feel satisfaction. Whilst there is always more to do, in celebrating what we’ve done to date we draw inspiration and strength to take on the next big action.
- Cultivate an ‘attitude of gratitude’ by finding things to celebrate. This practice acknowledges that so much goes right in our life. What do you have to be thankful for?
- Celebration doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can be a high five with a colleague. A happy dance at your desk. A quiet moment in the sun to take a pause and smile.
- Define what success means to you. Success is subjective. We lose power when we compare ourselves with someone else. Recently I was able to do some sets with 10kg weights in each arm and I was stoked!! For someone else that might have been too easy, but for me I was YEAH! Fist pumping! 11 kilos here we come!! So don’t rob your feelings of accomplishment by comparing yourself to others.
Lastly, in the spirit of acknowledgement, thank you so much for reading my newsletter, sharing it with others, and for your beautiful emails and notes that I get each week. I read everything and it touches my heart! I love this tribe of beautiful humans. Thank you!