Success. It’s an idea many of us spend a great deal of our time, energy and money to find. We go to great lengths to understand what success means to us and how we can achieve it in our work, relationships, personal pursuits and elsewhere.
But, the truth is many of us are missing the success that’s right in front of us.
Why? Because we don’t celebrate our wins.
Most of us spend so much time focusing on the ultimate success we want to achieve, that we fail to see the small victories we have along the way. We assume wins have to be big to really count and when they aren’t we ignore them.
But there’s power in even the smallest success – power that is only unlocked when those successes are noticed and acknowledged. Below are just a few of the benefits of recognizing small wins.
Verifying You’re on the Right Track
Most of us have big goals for ourselves – the kind of goals that can’t be achieved overnight. To reach them, we have to learn new skills, build our own capabilities, and try out some new things along the way. Noticing when something works is a key indicator that we’re on the right track toward our ultimate goal, but is often exactly the kind of little victory we brush right by without a thought.
Instead, try paying attention to the progress you’re making and what it tells you about where you’re going. When you feel like you’ve taken a step in the right direction, take a brief moment to acknowledge that win. Point it out to your team, call or text a business friend or mentor, or make a note of it in your journal. Also, be sure to take the time to ask yourself what you learned by taking this step and how you can keep it up.
Providing Motivation for Long-Term Goals
If you’re trying to tackle a big project or goal, you probably know that one of the biggest obstacles you’ll face is fading motivation. Keeping your head in the game for long periods of time is no easy feat, but one of the simplest tricks I know for improving motivation is to monitor the progress you’ve made and not just how far you have left to go.
For every milestone you hit on the way to a big accomplishment, be sure to look back and ask yourself where you were last month, last quarter or last year. Be intentional about remembering all the work you’ve put in and how much progress you’ve made before you focus on how much further you still need to go.
Helping You Understand Things in a New Way
Perhaps the most powerful thing about celebrating small victories is what we can learn in the process. Depending on the situation, taking the time to notice incremental successes can help us understand ourselves, our teams or even our customers or clients in new and important ways.
The next time you have a small victory, ask yourself what you did that allowed it to happen. Did you prepare differently? Approach a conversation in a new way? Think about a client’s problem in a way that you hadn’t before? If so, it’s important to make note of that for yourself so that you can replicate those results in the future.
Many of us are uncomfortable celebrating small wins. Maybe we’ve allowed ourselves to slip into the mindset that only “big” goals count or perhaps we’re uncomfortable taking our foot off the accelerator long enough to see how far we’ve come. But, by skipping this step, we’re missing out on some very important benefits.