baked byDenise Jacobs
I spoke earlier about managing information overload to encourage self-referral and breaking the cycle of delayed gratification. The two factors of being other-referential and never allowing yourself to get what you want often add up to create a pernicious compulsion to constantly and relentlessly produce. Sometimes we’re just built this way, but sometimes…well, we may unconsciously be so driven because that seems to be what all of our peers are doing and we want to fit in and keep up with the Jones. One of the results from this cycle? Once we achieve something, we don’t celebrate it, always focusing on the next thing.
What’s the big deal? For me, when I don’t acknowledge an accomplishment, it feels like I didn’t even do it. Like all of that time and hard work I put into it didn’t even happen. And that’s a crappy feeling. And why would I want to keep going after big goals and put tons of time, energy and effort towards them where instead of feeling like “teh awesomesauce” afterwards, I feel like a loser? In contrast, when I’ve made a bigger deal of giving myself credit for achieving a goal, it feels great and I want to tackle even more.
Here’s an example from my own life: when my book came out in April 2010, the silence was deafening. I’m not talking about from external sources, but from myself. I threw no party, I made no big post on Facebook. I think I tweeted a few times, but other than that, NOTHING. Oh, I told folks that I would have a reading of some sort, I said I would have people over for a party with a book signing. But I didn’t – at all. I was already so busy running after the next big goal of preparing for my first international speaking gig at FOWD London, that the fact that there were actual physical copies of a book that I had spent 8 months of my life pouring my heart and soul into out in the world was swept under the rug. My celebration of having accomplished one of my life’s Big Goals of being a published author consisted of a few clicks of a digital camera, a couple of tweets, and a buried blog post.
Clearly, I need to work on celebrating my own successes, whatever I determine a success to be. I have a habit of constantly raising the bar for myself, setting my sights ever farther, and changing the set of criteria of when I can finally call myself successful. But I’m looking to change that for myself, and this is how I intend to do it:
- I’m starting to plan how I will acknowledge the success of a goal in advance of finishing it and make a pact with myself that I will truly celebrate it. This means putting it in the calendar and everything.
- Lately, I’ve been gathering up all of my accomplishments in one place (part of the process of revamping my website, actually), which has been a great reminder of all of the things I have done over the course of my career. I’m contemplating also making a collage poster out of the items I am proudest of to have a physical reminder I can look at regularly.
- I’m also considering having one or several success buddies to share successes with. Part of the setup will be that we remind each other of any successes forgotten or overlooked.
- I’m also practicing more mindfulness and being present and reminding myself that the accomplishment is happening NOW. The stuff that I want/need to do for the next thing is in the future. I’ll get to it when it is time.
Here are some more suggestions and ideas from 30 Ways to Celebrate Your Success:
- Cross it off your master list of goals.
- Give your goals a one-day break. Take a day off from work and treat yourself to a day of rest and relaxation.
- Do something you enjoy but rarely take time to do. Take a trip you’ve always wanted to take, or do a new activity you’ve always wanted to do.
- Take yourself out to an amazing dinner.
- Reflect on the path you took and how much progress you’ve made.
- Share your news with friends, family and colleagues (and clients if appropriate), either verbally, in an email or newsletter.
- Thank everyone who supported you.
- Have a party! (I still need to do this one!)
How will you acknowledge your next accomplishment? Start planning it out now so that you don’t miss it.