When we are young, impressionable children, we are taught never to brag. Be humble. Don’t get too cocky because here today, gone tomorrow. Don’t get too comfy, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.
“Wisdom” such as this is just disempowering baloney lined with fear-based thinking. We’re not just saying don’t carry that torch, we’re saying blow that sucker out and BURY it. In a recent focus group we were leading on celebrations, we had a great discussion on why people can’t celebrate their triumphs, no matter how big or small. Why is it that we work tirelessly to enroll a client, collect a well-earned check, get the girl or whatever victory it is that we have won, but then shrug our shoulders and mutter, “No big deal, I really didn’t do anything” or “It’s not a done deal yet” and then move onto to what’s next?
We bet our bottom dollar that if we launch a strategic, businessy tool and package it under some clever name that included an ROI, we could “trick” folks into celebrating their personal victories. Such as: stop, analyze what worked and how you can repeat what you just did so you can produce the same results, again. SHHHHH….this is celebration.
By quietly moving on to the next thing, we rob ourselves of a huge opportunity for growth. By not taking a moment and truly acknowledging your efforts, as well as the triumph, we aren’t refueling our tanks so we can do what we did again and again, in all interactions and areas of our life. Instead we move to the next thing with an empty tank. That crucial refuel puts us back on the road with a tank full of confidence, pride and an unwavering commitment to make a difference again and impact those in our lives in the best way possible. To share your gifts, the best you can.
The irony of this is, the prize that is the reason for celebrating is actually your willingness to find the celebration in what could appear as a loss. You’re celebrating your ability to get out there and give it your unwavering dedication and commitment. It’s not about saying “I got this life thing nailed, I’m the man.” Tis quite the opposite. It’s about saying I was committed, present, authentic, and intentional. I gave it my best AND I learned something from it. Sometimes in hindsight, our biggest challenges, struggles and upsets can become our greatest celebrations. For Molly, here are a few that come to mind in 2012:
- My Mom was diagnosed with cancer this year and I live 1,300 miles away and I feel helpless. And that’s a celebration HOW? After 14 years of not being with my family for Christmas, my kids will spend Christmas with their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles for the first time. It was crazy expensive for all of us to fly, so we’re driving from Colorado to NY, dog and all. And for me there is much to celebrate in my decision-making process to do the road trip; not accepting the expense of the airline tickets, or the time away from routine, or the possible bad weather, etc. as “reasons” not to go. Rather, looking at how thankful I am for my steadfast commitment to family. Taking a few minutes to sit with this gave me reason to bask in my unrelenting dedication.
- I get to pay the largest tax bill EVER on 1/15/13. For a tiny moment I had a giant fit of panic, but then I stopped and asked myself “Where’s the positive in this?” Well I have a job that isn’t work at all because I love what I do; I work with a phenomenal team; I have a ton of room to grow, improve and challenge myself in the coming year; and now I know what I must make in 2013 and what I’m no longer tolerating come January 1st because I never want to feel this panic. Ever, ever again.
- I published a book that was an Amazon bestseller 18 months ago and I never celebrated it. People would constantly say, “That’s so amazing, you wrote a book” and I would blow it off and talk down like it was no big thing. [ed. It’s true, I’ve seen her do it.] I didn’t realize how much I was discrediting a gift they were giving me with my refusal to accept their gift of celebration. I wasn’t willing to sit with it and celebrate it so I wasn’t able to receive their gift of acknowledgment and excitement. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how that landed for them, as if I was saying, “No thank you, I don’t want your gift. Take it back.” I was crushed when I realized that was how it was perceived. Only then did I allow myself to savor the absolute accomplishment of not only publishing the book, but also embarking on the writing process with my incredible partner.
- In 2012 I hired a personal coach. I’ve had coaches before and have been a part of many team coaching programs, but I’ve never hired my own personal coach dedicated to my personal growth (versus my growth as part of a team). This is a huge celebration for me to invest the time, money and courage to stay in a constant conversation about growth and to consider myself worth the effort. As someone who usually powers through things, taking time to stop and work consistently on my personal growth from an insight and soul perspective versus an action/doing perspective is a huge celebration, not of my skills and abilities, but of my heart and my soul.
- In January, my husband and I were astounded to find out we were expecting our first child. In February we had a miscarriage and were absolutely devastated. In this loss, I found a deeper, more meaningful definition of celebration than I thought possible. A week later we went on a vacation we’d planned months before to try to begin to heal. In the Cayman Islands we happened to pass a little local church right by the ocean. The church was empty but the doors were open, and I asked my husband if we could go in and pray for our baby. I thought I would pray for God to hold her and bless her. But instead my heart had me pray a prayer of thankfulness, thanking God for giving us the joyous weeks of having our baby with us, the absolute joy we felt during that time, and for the privilege of loving her. I learned that above all else, beautiful things that we lose deserve the honor of being celebrated and honored, even in our pain.
- In 2012 I also learned to celebrate my voice. So often we hesitate to share parts of ourselves with the world, thinking it might not “land right.” In the weeks and months after losing our baby, I would often share my thoughts and journey with others and on Facebook. Sometimes I would find myself hesitating, thinking, “people are going to think this is TMI or think it’s too much.” Yet every time I shared, I received an outpouring of love and support, but also validation of how my willingness to share my pain and my faith helped others, many who had dealt with the same situation, or had loved ones who had and didn’t know what to say to them. A woman shared with me the loss of her child which had happened almost 20 years ago and how in sharing with me, she finally was able to honor her, because she previously felt it was a taboo topic. I learned through this that my voice can powerfully connect with those who need to hear it. And for others who don’t make the connection, those just aren’t the people who need to hear what I’m saying. But it felt like robbing what I can offer the world to quiet or dilute my voice.
So, here’s a year-end challenge to you: Are you ready to acknowledge your credit, accept it and celebrate it? Take 10 minutes and jot down what your recent victories were, NOT ONLY THE WINS, but the victories in the losses as well. We would love to hear about them, so send us with what you came up with!
Champions for your continued success,
Molly and Laney