And why don’t we do this enough? Does celebrating success in our personal lives come more naturally than in our business lives?
After all, we celebrate birthdays, especially the ones with a zero at the end, passing exams, getting married, getting a new job or a promotion. These are all life-changing events or major milestones which we are happy to celebrate. But when it comes to celebrating success in business, are we more reticent?
Recently, I had the pleasure to have been invited to join in the 1st-anniversary celebrations of a new business and a launch party showcasing new branding, website and marketing materials. Both above events represent major milestones, achievements and success for the business owners. But I know many more businesses who do not celebrate their successes particularly small business owners, independent traders, consultants and freelancers who often work alone, or in small teams. They are adept at reviewing projects and services, evaluating what went on, what could be improved and analysing what didn’t go well. But all too often we forget to take a moment to congratulate ourselves on what went well and celebrate the successes, even the small ones.
So why is this so important?
Building and running a business is a journey. We are encouraged to have a vision and to work towards achieving that vision, overcoming the trials and tribulations that accompany us on the way. I believe that celebrating our success is a fundamentally important part of helping us on that journey, for the following reasons:
Running a business is full of ups and downs. We like the feeling of success, it makes us feel good, and many of us went into business because we want to feel good about what do, whilst also enjoying doing it. Current advice encourages us to proactively collect and store anything which provides us with a feeling of positivity, including keeping a daily journal, asking for testimonials, using affirmations and maybe having a special box in which to keep compliments. These reminders of the good times help us to negotiate our way through the more trying ones.
2. Our own personal growth and development
Success often comes at the end of a project or a period, which in many cases will have included pushing oneself out of the proverbial ‘comfort zone’. It may have included some soul-searching and, very probably, a few stern conversations with the ‘inner critic’ and, possibly, some well-meaning ‘outer critics’ who would prefer to keep us in their defined ‘safe’ boxes. But, in the journey to completing a large project, we will have learnt new skills and potentially forged new relationships, through sourcing and working with specialists in their fields. All of which will have contributed to our own self-development and knowledge.
3.‘Success begets success’
Oprah Winfrey said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” By focussing on our accomplishments, we develop a success mindset for ourselves which helps to increase our confidence. You will feel more inspired and energised and this is a great time to reach out to the new contact you would like to work with, to pitch your story to publications or to put yourself forward for speaking events. At a recent event I organised, one of my speakers, who delivered a very entertaining speech, was invited by an audience member to be an after-dinner speaker at their event.
4. Sharing your success
By inviting others to share in your success you are creating an opportunity to expand your circle of influence. Being generous with your praise of fellow team-members who helped you, positions you as someone who values those around you and, in turn, will attract and inspire others with the same values to want to work with you. Peer reinforcement is not something isolated to the office or larger teams. Praise and recognition are huge motivators. We all want to do a good job and will naturally work harder for those we perceive as valuing that additional effort. No man (or woman) is an island, more can be achieved by the many than the individual. By actively creating a positive, nurturing culture around ourselves and our businesses, which is not afraid to celebrate an achievement, we will bring the best out of our teams and discover that success does indeed beget success.
5. Bask in the positivity: success is positive.
To the inner critic and nay-sayers, who will ask; ‘Who will come?’, ‘Isn’t it bragging?’, ‘Am I a show-off?’ I say ‘NO’, and to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway!’. At the recent launch party, I mentioned earlier, the room was full of women who run their own businesses, many of whom work on their own. I was struck by the sense of support, generosity of spirit and overwhelmingly genuine feeling of pride they had in sharing in some else’s success, and the part they had played in it. Allow the positive energy and thoughts of others to further enhance your reputation. The host of the party told me afterwards that a guest had said to her ‘I had no idea you were held in such high regard!’
Success is the good news of our business
In conclusion, I believe we should celebrate our successes, as this is the news of our business. The nature of the success will determine how we choose to celebrate but ensuring that we build and maintain an ethos wherein we review our successes as a key part of our evaluation process will inspire us to continue to achieve. After all, when you see yourself as successful, others will see you in the same light and, if that was not reason enough, in the words of football coach Jurgen Klopp, “Life is too short not to celebrate nice moments.”