Do you celebrate your accomplishments? If you are like most of us, I’m willing to bet that you don’t very often.
It’s unfortunate that in our culture, celebrating successes seems to be viewed as either selfish, or a waste of time for busy people who need to move on to the next task. On the contrary-celebrating is so important that when we don’t do it, we actually set ourselves up for future failures and disappointments.
I found this question of celebration to be so intriguing that I asked a couple of my dear friends who are successful entrepreneurs to join me in examining our own habits of celebrating-or not. Following are a few questions we asked ourselves that I invite you to ask yourself as well. When I was looking for information on how to find success and still keep my sanity, it was posts like these that really helped me. We all learn so much from each other’s experiences! Please keep this one going by adding your comments below.
Note: Michelle Witherby (MW) is the founder of the O&N Collective, a shopping site built exclusively for organic and natural products. Shanda Sumpter (SS) is the founder of HeartCore Women, an organization that empowers women to stop settling and do what they love. Britta Aragon (BA) is the founder of Cinco Vidas and CV Skinlabs.
Q: Do you find it difficult to celebrate your accomplishments? Why do you think that is?
MW: Earlier in my career I certainly did. But it wasn’t because of it being difficult per say….honestly, I just simply never thought about it. It was always “on to the next project, goal, etc.”
BA: I do find it difficult to slow down enough to celebrate. Part of it has had to do with the amount of work that is on my plate as an entrepreneur. But I’ve seen in the past how not slowing down to celebrate has actually reduced my joy, happiness, and aliveness, and has eventually led to burnout. I heard Oprah say once that the more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. I’m becoming a true believer of that. I want to celebrate more of what I want to see more of in my life. What we focus on expands, so focusing on celebration will bring more things to celebrate!
SS: I love celebrating wins. It’s such a high for me. My challenge is that when I reach my goals and have a level of success, I want to slow down and coast. Therefore, my lesson within my business and life has been to continue to build off success and make my balance time a regular routine in my schedule.
Q: Do you believe there are things in our culture today that make celebrating accomplishments more difficult for most people? If so, what are they?
MW: Society in general has defined success by how much one achieves and accumulates. It’s created a cycle of rushing from one accomplishment to another. Someone celebrating their own achievements may be looked upon as being selfish or silly. We have been taught that “congratulations” should come from outside sources as a measure of validity as to how important our achievements are.
BA: I feel like we live in a country where we’re praised for achievement and going to the next level and attaining more and more. Usually the mentality is that once you’ve done something, it’s on to the next thing already. We are so focused on “getting” and “attaining” as a means of finding happiness that once we attain or achieve the goal, because we’re so focused on finding happiness outside ourselves, we feel like it didn’t bring the rewards we thought it would, so we have to get or achieve even more. I think celebrating-the ritual of celebrating-is a mindful and conscious act where you have to purposely dedicate time, effort, and some sort of ritual to stop, breathe, reflect, and bathe in the experience.
SS: Yes, for sure! However in Europe and other places in the world it’s not so.
Q: Why do you think celebrating accomplishments is important? How does it help you in your life?
SS: As a woman, it’s when we feel balanced that we can access a calm sense of creativity. We are multidimensional people. There is more to us than just working. It would be really sad if we were born to work only with play being a time to recharge. I believe that my life is better spent having fun while I grow older every year!
MW: Just as an athlete savors a victory, we must savor our accomplishments. Celebrating gives us time to pause and take note of what we have achieved and what it took for us to get there. Celebrating builds us up from inside and renews our energy. Personal fulfillment builds character and makes us stronger people and leaders.
BA: In life we often make the mistake of celebrating only big monumental things like a wedding, a graduation, etc., but then we no longer feel the excitement of having achieved smaller steps along the way. I think it’s important to celebrate something each day, each week, each month, because as I said earlier, what we focus on grows. When I take the time to see how far I’ve come, it’s allows me to be more connected to my joy. There is always something else to go for, but if that’s all we think about, that robs us of being in a space where we can feel good about today. The less I celebrate, the more I go into a space of lack, and of focusing on what I don’t have. The more I celebrate, the more I’m reminded of how blessed and grateful I am
Q: How did you get started celebrating your accomplishments? How would you recommend someone else get started?
MW: Years ago I began working with a coach and mentor, Debby Stone. Debby was vital in encouraging me and teaching me why celebrating is important in our lives. She is a huge advocate for it. I remember when she first mentioned it to me, I just couldn’t grasp it, but it’s a priority for me now. Hopefully in this post we can inspire people to begin the ritual. I’m hoping readers will grant themselves the permission they deserve to honor themselves and their incredible achievements.
BA: I got started because I was in a burnout from launching a business and working 24/7. I didn’t have time to stop and celebrate, I had to do “so much!” After I hit a wall, I learned I needed to make significant changes in my life. Now, I’ve got my own ways and rituals in place to celebrate little milestones and big accomplishments. I recommend that everyone start by scheduling the time in, just like an appointment in your calendar. Have fun with it! Get started today, and focus on the positive feelings that come up around celebrating yourself. Those are the feelings that will allow you to continue celebrating your life, as when something feels good, we want to do more of it!
SS: I started by taking my client load and moving them all over to three days. People don’t argue when you are clear. They push back when you give them too many decisions in your life. Besides, it’s been great for our business. Our clients are playing the same game in their own businesses. It’s like we’ve given them permission to be human again. We actually doubled in size after making this shift, and almost doubled again this year as we added the fourth week of every month off! I recommend you don’t worry about a good time to start. Change your agreements with people and put your life first. If more people were doing that, we would be happier, healthier, and wealthier, based on our testing and experience.
How to Get Started
If you’re looking for easy ways to celebrate, consider the following, then add to the list with your own favorite celebrations!
- Go the spa and get a manicure, facial, or massage
- Go to the farmer’s market, get a bunch of great, healthy food, and cook for yourself or a group of friends
- Take the day off and do something fun that you’ve always wanted to do
- Give yourself a reward, such as that new pair of shoes or new CD you’ve been wanting
- Keep a “daily win” journal, and write the three successes you experience each day
- Take the family and go somewhere for the weekend
- Enjoy an afternoon relaxing at the park
- Make a certificate for yourself and frame it
Do you celebrate your accomplishments? Why or why not? Please share your experiences.
Picture courtesy elziard via Flickr.com.