leadership incorporated blog

May 31, 2010

Inspired to Succeed: What’s the last accomplishment you fully celebrated?

I’ve had an abundance of big and little wins lately. I’ve brought in some incredible new clients. I achieved my PCC (the next level of accreditation with the International Coach Federation), which represents 5 years of hard work and focus. I’ve completed on a number of small goals on my list. And this week is my birthday.

I notice that because I’ve been so busy — and because I wasn’t sure how to celebrate, I’ve just flowed right from one accomplishment to the next. I’ve let these events go by largely unacknowledged. I have a powerful urge to just get on with it with a “Yeah, that’s great. Next…”

This week I was working with someone who nailed an important meeting with a potential client. The moment after the words “This was the best meeting I’ve ever given,” were out of her mouth, came the BUT that took it all away.

I stopped her and reminded her to celebrate the win. Whether or not she gets the client, she deserves to celebrate the meeting. When we blow the meeting or otherwise “lose,” we spend plenty of time berating ourselves. What if we spent at least as much time celebrating when we win?

Does any of this sound familiar to you? What accomplishments, wins, milestones or important events have you not fully celebrated?

Why celebrate? There are some powerful ways celebration works for us. Read on:

Celebration replenishes our energy. Even when we love what we do, when we constantly put out energy we become depleted. Stepping out of the flow, even for a moment, to celebrate what we have created, puts something back in. The magic of celebration is that often just a little drop completely refills the fountain.

Celebration develops perspective. As in the example above, without celebrating incremental achievements, we tend to collapse everything into the outcome. So when we get a negative outcome, we lose all the positives that went into it that might serve us as we move forward. Even when we get a positive outcome, if we haven’t stopped to celebrate, we lose our vision of the steps that helped us to get there. When we stop to focus on all that we’ve done right, we retain the usefulness of those actions for future ventures.

Celebration creates success. I’m participating in an intensive marketing workshop this year. Each time I meet with my mentor, I fill out a form telling him what I want to be acknowledged for. And you know what, even though I am more or less putting the words in his mouth, hearing this other person honor my accomplishments and congratulate me — celebrate with me — doesn’t just make me feel really good (which it does), it propels me forward to my next accomplishment.

As leaders, we need to think not just of celebrating our own wins, but those of the people we  lead. This is one of the most powerful of leadership tools. It is amazing how far people will go for those who honor and acknowledge them.

So here’s what I want to do to celebrate my birthday and recent accomplishments: I want to give you the gift of this experience. Send me an email with a brief story of something you have accomplished recently and would like to be acknowledged for. I would love to celebrate it with you and honor you for this.

Looking forward to hearing from you,



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