There's a common thread, or theme, running through my client sessions recently-- entrepreneurs who forget, or don't bother, to celebrate their amazingness. Some feel it's self-centered, some believe they don't have the time, and most don't even realize it's something to consider.
You work hard, probably never pausing to acknowledge the completion of your goals and other small wins. Some business owners don't even celebrate their milestones, diminishing their importance or brushing off the impact of their devoted energy and time. These are the entrepreneurs who feel as though nothing ever gets done and bury themselves under a never-ending pile of tasks without coming up for air. Productivity ebbs more than it flows.
Who do you think is more likely to succeed?
1. The entrepreneur who takes time out of the day to reflect, appreciate, and share his or her achievements
2. The entrepreneur who dismisses small wins because, after all, this completes only a small piece of the big picture--there's so much more to do
You guessed it: number one, the latter will burnout. Entrepreneurs who don't celebrate themselves and their achievements tend to get depressed and negativity is omnipresent. Productive actions are overridden by meaningless time-suckers as they lose focus.
Don't hold off celebrating until you hit your milestones.
Think about the parent whose young child takes his first steps. Does the parent hold off on joyfully acknowledging him until he has walked his first mile? No, because one small step is a milestone. The adult's clap, laugh, encourage him, and tell everyone the exciting news. This reinforces the child's commitment to walking and lets him know that he's achieved something notable. It inspires and motivates him to do it again, even though it's likely that he's going to fall down quite a bit.
The acknowledgment of small accomplishments motivates and inspires us, and it also relieves stress. As big breakthroughs happen, they merit a celebration that is commensurate to their significance, but how often do these breakthroughs come along? It takes many small wins to add up to a milestone. If you neglect to acknowledge them it may have a negative impact on your energy, attitude, and productivity, therefore your business.
Celebration and acknowledgment change your physiology.
Try this experiment. Spend about ten seconds thinking about all of the hard work that you have to do. Feel the pressure mounting. Now notice your posture, is it strong and upright or slumped? Take note of how your body feels. Do you feel the stress mounting? How productive can you possibly be under these conditions?
Now, spend ten seconds mentally reviewing the things that you achieved over the past week, or month. Mindfully highlight the tasks that are off your plate and acknowledge how good it feels now that they're done. Give yourself a mental pat on the back. Now how do you feel? You're more likely to charge into your next steps with a good attitude and higher energy.
When we focus on the good stuff it sparks the reward circuitry of our brains. This causes a chain reaction as the brain releases chemicals that stimulate feelings of pride, excitement, and happiness. It makes us want to dig deeper into our next achievement.
Celebration comes in all shapes and sizes.
You complete a small project and it feels nice to finally have it done, but there's another project that needs your attention. Who has time to celebrate?
A celebration of achievement doesn't necessarily mean a party or treating yourself to a day off. Here are a few ways to acknowledge and appreciate yourself and your amazingness. And yes, even the small wins grant you the leeway to call yourself an amazing entrepreneur. Embrace this fact and that alone will boost your appreciation and energy levels.
How to celebrate your small wins.
- At the end of your day spend five to ten minutes reviewing everything you've completed from your list. Most likely, many of the things you've done weren't even on your list so add them and flag them as complete. A visual of your accomplishments is very rewarding and will lend to a greater appreciation of your achievements.
- Tell someone who understands the significance of small steps. Positive auditory feedback, along with a few verbal pats on the back, gives us a mini-rush that helps buoy our motivation.
- Let your mind wander to future images of your success. Painting this uplifting image will help your subconscious mind to communicate what you want to your brain. This is important since a well-informed brain opens your eyes to opportunities and ideas that help get you what you want.
- Acknowledge your wins by doing something a little different. I have a theory that we all need to put a little vacation in each and every day. This stimulates the brain's reward center, helps us to celebrate our freedom as an entrepreneur, and energizes us.
- Express gratitude for your achievements. Gratitude has a strong impact on your mind and body.
- Thank those who contributed to your wins and spend a bit of time to think about the skills, commitment, and endurance it takes to achieve your goals. You really do rock!