Love what you do. Live for what you do. Pour your heart, soul and all you’ve got into it. But for goodness sake, celebrate yourself when it’s merited and deserved.
Many people are so immersed in their journey toward stardom and greatness that they’re losing the small battles along the way. Day-by-day and inch-by-inch, they’re losing encouragement and hope. The road to success for most people is a long one. Forget what our media and instant-gratification society try shovel-feeding you — you won’t become a star overnight.
Even the people that we admire so much — superstars like Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, LeBron James — all of these successful multi-millionaires needed to take the long, winding road to success. And all of them needed to celebrate every win along the way.
Which is why it’s so important to find something that you love. Find something that you love so much, it will sustain you even when you can barely muster the strength to pull yourself out of bed and slink down on the couch to watch Netflix. But by all means, celebrate what you’ve accomplished. Don’t get self-conscious. Don’t get into the whole false-humility thing. Celebrate yourself when you’ve done something great.
Because you should always be proud of your biggest and boldest accomplishments.
The words above are as much for my coaching clients and readers. We all need this reminder for a variety of reasons:
- It may seem audacious to celebrate ourselves only from the framework of concern of what others may think of us celebrating our own (or shared) success
- We’re so focused on the grind, we’re concerned about getting distracted or wasting time
- We simply don’t think it’s important; we view it as perfunctory
- We already assume we have all the motivation we need
- We think it’s contrived or manufactured inspiration
So many people tell me that they’re unwilling to celebrate because they’re so focused on the process. Well, before long, if that’s the case, you may go a whole lifetime without taking a bow and sharing a good laugh and smile at all the wonderful things that you’ve done!
It took me a long time in my life to realize how important celebrating wins are, but one year later, after the release of my first book, The Value of You, I know how special it is. Even when my book was first published, I had to overcome the fear of self-promotion and putting myself out there. It’s not something that comes naturally to me, and it’s the part of “success” that I like the least.
But it’s essential. If you can’t sell yourself, no one else will do it for you. If you’re unwilling to celebrate your biggest accomplishments, how will you know what the finish line really looks like? Every great venture has both a starting line and a finish line. To begin, you need to be committed. To finish, you need to be consistent. And when you finish, you should celebrate all the hard work, dedication, sweat, tears and energy you’ve spent on achieving your big dream.
There’s not a whole lot out there about what celebrating your biggest goals and dreams does for you, so I wanted to share what I’ve experienced and what I’ve observed from coaching and learning from highly successful people:
Celebrating success gives us a shot of the necessary value of enthusiasm — or fire, as I like to call it. It completes the cycle! Enthusiasm rejuvenates our souls, giving us the passion and power to keep moving forward for the next challenge. Every great venture begins, is sustained and powered by enthusiasm. Having a passion for what you do is essential if you want to do great things.
Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick, authors of The Carrot Principle and All In, point out the importance of celebrating in a team environment. The benefits of camaraderie and encouragement are the currency that goes a long way toward engendering a culture of togetherness and optimism:
As Elton and Gostick note, “Cheering is unifying. It creates an atmosphere of camaraderie and a willingness to accept each other and buoy one another. It acknowledges that each person on the team, by himself, will be unsuccessful unless everyone works together in a balanced, concerted effort.” Source:
Confidence is two-fold — first, I start with self-confidence. Your achievements should always bring out the best inside of you. They should build you up and help you believe that you can achieve the next goal in front of you. Confidence also comes in the belief and trust that other people place in you. Great opportunities and prosperous new relationships come to those that have achieved because other people feel safe in placing their confidence in that person.
Last year, I remember reading this message that LeBron James wrote on his Instagram page. It was an image of himself in high school, and he wrote it “in the future” to himself. It was a rare insight into the importance of celebrating oneself. It might be easy to think about how self-serving this is, but I truly don’t interpret it that way.
We all need to remind ourselves sometimes of just how far we’ve come. Here is his post:
“Wanna be one of the first to congratulate you on this accomplishment/achievement tonight that you’ll reach! Only a handful has reach/seen it too and while I know it’s never been a goal of yours from the beginning try(please try) to take a moment for yourself on how you’ve done it! The House you’re about to be apart of has only 6 seats in it(as of now) but 1 more will be added and you should be very proud and honored to be invited inside. There’s so many people to thank who has help this even become possible(so thank them all) and when u finally get your moment(alone) to yourself smile, look up to the higher skies and say THANK YOU! So with that said, Congrats again Young King”
Notice the gratitude and celebration. It’s a wonderful encapsulation of what it means to honor ourselves before we move on to the next goal.
Faith, meaning the belief in yourself and the belief in the people around you, grows exponentially when you succeed. Only you will really know all the hours you spent working toward starting a business, writing a screenplay, delivering a killer presentation, graduating college or lifting someone else up and making a huge impact in their life.
When you’ve done this, you start to believe that you can continue to keep doing it. For the benefit of yourself and others.
Similar to the mental and emotional part of building up your faith, commitment is both proven in accomplishment and continued in the desire to turn to what’s next. This is where the love of “the process” matters. Commitment enables you to begin… and begin…. and begin… and, well, you get the point.
Commitment is strengthened and emboldened through celebrating something special.
For one thing- you should consistently celebrate your achievements! But that’s not why I have this here. The consistency of applying yourself to a task or tasks, seeing it through and bringing the same powerful energy, purpose and focus every day is what makes success possible. The repetition of this mindset and approach is always worthy of celebrating in the end.
It’s how everything awesome is possible.
If you know what it feels like to do something great, then you know what that little smirk and chip on your shoulder feel like. What do I mean? That nerve. That warm, bold sensation inside of you that is building and telling yourself, “Maybe I’m just crazy enough to do this again. Maybe I should go after something bolder.”
I think of The Beatles. By the time Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, the band had already accomplished more than anyone could ever dream of in 100 careers. And yet, here it was, an album that many consider to be the greatest in the history of rock n’ roll. Not only that, they weren’t finished.
They continued to keep releasing more stellar albums! Just when you thought they couldn’t get much better, they still had Let It Be and Abbey Road up their sleeves. It was time to celebrate their achievement, then it was time to move on to the next great thing.
When you find something you love, keep going after it. Maybe you’ve launched your first business. Maybe now, you want to try a whole new venture that will push you to the limits of challenge and comfort. Why? Because you know in your heart that you can. You have the nerve to give it a shot and see what happens.
This one is simple. Per Eric Barker in Time magazine:
Next time something good happens, stop whatever you are doing, give it a second and appreciate that moment…The happiness researchers call it “Savoring.”
I once coached a client who was only one year removed from being an analyst, who suddenly found himself in a director-level position for a major government agency. He had undersold himself and didn’t know what was possible. When he finally realized that he had all the tools to be successful, he decided to start acting with more confidence.
He began celebrating every win. He was so much happier inside. His happiness boosted his self-esteem, energy level, optimism, and confidence. It literally carried him into a corner office job. All because he was willing to celebrate the climb up each rung of the ladder.
8. Shared Celebration
The celebration can be for ourselves. And it can be shared with others. It literally lifts up our emotions to take part in something communal, something shared with other people. Take this from, The How of Happiness:
Sharing successes and accomplishments with others has been shown to be associated with elevated pleasant emotions and well-being. So, when you or your spouse or cousin or best friend wins an honor, congratulate him or her (and yourself ), and celebrate. Try to enjoy the occasion to the fullest. Passing on and rejoicing in good news leads you to relish and soak up the present moment, as well as to foster connections with others.
9. Peace of Mind
I don’t know about you, but when I haven’t stopped to enjoy life’s big and small wins, I find myself anxious, depressed and unhappy. It becomes easier to dwell on what I haven’t done. Which is crazy. It’s the classic half-empty mindset that usually doesn’t get us anywhere but stuck and frustrated.
Here’s the truth that all of us can accept: not everything that we’ve touched has turned to gold. And not everything we create and build will. I’ve done things I’m proud of, but I’ve also had my failures and mistakes. Maybe you know the same feeling. The difference is, it’s one thing to dwell on these things. It’s another to look them in the eye, extract what lessons we can from then, and move on.
It’s a far better investment of our time to focus on the positive and to reflect with joy and happiness on the wins! Celebrating wins boosts self-esteem, not arrogance. Does it stroke our ego? Surely. But if you have enough discipline and self-confidence, you don’t allow the feeling of achievement to go to your head in such a way that it convinces others that you’re one big, self-absorbed egomaniac.
Rather, as a testament to your character and virtue, people get to see you as someone who is self-assured, happy and at peace with who they are. Celebrating takes away the worry. In so doing, it gives you needed peace of mind.
10. Lift Someone Else Up
Knowing that you’ve achieved something great and celebrating that win should inspire you to lift someone else up. Scratch that — for every great achievement that you’ve had, work by the principle of multiplication.
Lift several other people up. With the social media world at our fingertips, we have no excuse! Be willing to celebrate and take part in the achievements of others! Chances are, you had that someone there for you who made you feel special. Could be a mentor, coach, colleague or friend. You know how great that feeling is.
Why not give someone else the same tremendous opportunity?
Isn’t that so much of what life should be about? It encourages us to think more about the reason for why we should want to do what we do. If we want to be the change we see in the world, we should be willing to influence others in a positive way by sharing the greatness and exhilaration of what we’ve done. Celebrate yourself. And celebrate others. You’ll gain some amazing allies in the process.