I’ve been really grumpy this week. I have a shorter fuse than usual, stupid things are really annoying me, and the frustrations have been piling on top of one another endlessly. There have been glimpses of loveliness, but I seem to keep going back to this unusual funk I’ve been in.
When I explore it, I’m frustrated at feeling like I’m not moving forward. There’s a mountain of outside work that needs to be done before the snow falls, and I feel like it’s the story of the ant and the grasshopper. I keep plodding away in my business, staying the course, but it feels like the long road through the prairies that never seems to get closer to my destination. My brain knows there has been progress, both in the yard and at work, but it’s frustrating to see the enormity of what is left to do. As I’m writing this, I’m feeling even more discouraged as I wallow in my own self-pity.
And yet, I actually wrote the second half of this article first. Amazingly, as I was writing I felt much better. In fact, coming back to write the beginning of this article was harder than I expected because I was no longer feeling the frustration and impatience that I was feeling when I started!
What on earth am I talking about?!
I’m talking about the power of celebration. I’d like to make a case for taking the time to celebrate in your business (and life) on a regular basis. There are lots of studies on this and there have been hundreds of books written on the subject, but you don’t have to look far to see the proof in your own life. Today, I’ll just share my own experience and those of my clients.
I am a very future-focused person, and when I spend too much time looking forward, it feels like there’s a long, slow, road ahead. But looking back, there are always celebrations to be had.
For example, these are some things my clients are celebrating about the past year:
- One wrote her manifesto, which informs and encapsulates the main vision for her work
- Another made more money in the past 3 months than she has ever made before, and she has completely changed her business model to suit the way she likes to work
- One finally was able to articulate her life vision by changing the way she approached it, and also put together her signature system in time to be featured in a major magazine in her industry
- Another was promoted to VP in her company and has been navigating her new role with intentionality
- And another celebrated the first anniversary of her company, including hiring her first team member and launching multiple services clients are raving about
And yet, so often when I ask them what they have to celebrate, they have a hard time coming up with something. They just aren’t practiced at looking for celebrations everywhere.
My business wins feel small in comparison to these, but stacked up it feels amazing to have accomplished so much this year. Some highlights are:
- This is the 37th article I’ve written this year, only missing weeks when I was out of town
- I finally hired a coaching supervisor after years of thinking about it (and it has been amazing so far!)
- After nearly 10 years in business I am finally able to articulate my ideal client and elevator pitch (“I work with established business owners who want more profit and efficiency with integrity.”)
- Virtually all of the systems in my business have been setup and are working smoothly
- I now work with clients on a subscription-basis instead of in larger packages, which I find great and has been well-received by my clients
- I’ve maintained working 4 days a week, approximately 25 hours a week, even with reduced childcare
So how can you stay in a spirit of celebration?
This, like so many things, takes practice. It doesn’t come naturally to all of us. If you want to get better at it, you first have to decide to work on it.
One thing I’ve done for the past few years is print out this accomplishment tracking sheet I made (I linked to it for you to use) and keep it on my desk at all times. Whenever I have a win personally or professionally, I jot it down. It’s really fun to go through and read what has happened over the course of the year, and very helpful when you’re reflecting.
***A super hack is to track wins like this for your clients, regardless of what industry you’re in. They’re always blown away with how much they’ve accomplished with you. If you work for someone else, this can also be a handy tool when it comes to asking for a raise, doing a performance review, or even looking at your own success track record doing a certain kind of project.
It’s very important to celebrate often so you don’t get discouraged, not just when there was a big win or completion of something. For example, a client has been focusing on debt repayment. Instead of waiting until the entire debt has been paid off, she’s going to celebrate every $1000 she puts towards it. She’s especially excited to begin celebrating after the debt is paid off and that same $1000 gets re-allocated to savings.
Often people will choose to celebrate by going out for a meal with loved ones. When they do this, I encourage them to tell their loved ones what they’re celebrating and not just secretly allocate that meal to the celebration. This allows them to vocalize the celebration, and lets the loved ones celebrate with them.
They can see the work they’ve been putting in is paying off and help encourage future celebrations.
A few other things you can try:
- Be around others who are in a habit of celebration. When you see those celebration threads on social media, add yours!
- Make celebration part of your family rituals — maybe sharing wins at mealtimes or before bed (this is awesome with kids, too)
- As you’re finishing work for the day, make it part of your closing down process to reflect on your wins that day
- Treat it like an experiment. See what happens when you celebrate more regularly.
- And of course there’s always the trusty gratitude journal
Most importantly, whatever you choose, make sure it feels like a true celebration to YOU, not just something someone told you would make a good celebration. My favourite celebration I’ve heard was when a client got a new job she decided to do an energy-clearing ritual in her office to clear the old energy and make room for the new. That felt unique and meaningful to her as a way to celebrate a new beginning. Take a few minutes to be thoughtful about what a meaningful celebration could look like for you, and it’s totally okay if it’s not the same thing every time. Be curious about what you notice and see if it helps you feel a little less frustrated or impatient.
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