We’re such a goal-oriented culture and we get a thrill from achieving our goals – but are all too quickly straight onto the NEXT achievement. It’s so easy to shift from the end of one year and straight into the next – without pausing to celebrate the success we’ve achieved.
Ben Renshaw says that, “On average by the age of eighteen we will have been praised and encouraged 30,000 times – and most of this … by the time we are three. By contrast we will have been criticised and discouraged over 250,000 times.” It’s no wonder we are so focused as a culture on what goes wrong!
And yet Oprah wisely says, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
Why is it so important to celebrate success and applaud our hard work? Well, it helps us take ourselves more seriously and develop confidence and healthy pride – as well as give us proof that we are learning, growing and succeeding in life, even when our inner critics might be telling us otherwise. And it inspires us to keep going.
But WE must define what is worth celebrating. There are ‘traditional’ successes like running a marathon or getting promoted but also include ANYthing YOU are proud of. If it has meaning to you, include it.
You must remember to celebrate success in these 3 instances:
- Concrete steps we have taken towards larger goals. We’re often so focused on the end-goal, that we don’t recognize the essential smaller achievements that get us there.
- Successes of value to us personally, but not necessarily to others. These are things that a wider society might not applaud you for, but are nevertheless important to you – unique achievements of ANY size that are significant to YOU. (I learned to cook meringues! I love meringues and have always been afraid I won’t be able to do them. Well, not only did I learn how to make them, but I’ve made myself popular at dinner parties too!)
- Your difficulties, failures AND mistakes. It’s important to celebrate and claim ALL of you – reject any part of you and you reject a part of yourself. (One of my mistakes is that I launched “Bite-Sized Life Coaching” and realised that I really wanted an owl in the branding. AND I preferred the name “Life Coach on the Go”. I completely rebranded and relaunched the website just 2 months later. I had ignored the niggling voice and learned that it would have been much better to launch the website later, than do it twice… But I am also proud of myself that I had the courage, determination and self-belief to relaunch!)
So, take a moment to celebrate your success and honour you. Make a list of everything you’ve achieved this year using these questions:
- “What were your biggest achievements this year?”
- “What are you most proud of?”
- “What have you achieved that has surprised you?”
- “What ‘smaller’, less obvious things are you proud of achieving this year?”
- “What steps have you made towards larger goals, that you need to acknowledge yourself for?”
- “What did you fail at or make a mistake on that needs recognizing? What did you learn? And what are you proud of in how you handled it?”
- Finally ask, “What will I do to celebrate, recognize and acknowledge my achievements?”
Fun suggestion: You can do this exercise alone – or with a group of good friends, share your lists – and celebrate success with each other!
How to Celebrate Success:
So do make sure that once you’ve done your list you actually celebrate your success! It could be a personal ritual, dinner out with someone special, a day spent doing what you love, buying yourself something special or something else. Think of something you would LOVE to do to honour yourself – and then commit to doing it. Tip: Use the 4 Ws. What, When, Where and Who you would like to celebrate with. Put it in your diary and know that the more personalised your celebration, the more uplifting and memorable it will be!
“Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions.” Abraham Joshua Heschel
If you like this article on why and how to celebrate success, you may also like:
- What Texas Hold’em Can Teach You About Success! By Guest Author Jan Carley
- Our Coaching Exercise My Daily Success Habits.pdf on creating personalised daily habits to maximise your success
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