Most of the go-getters I work with rarely celebrate success – and I’ve been just as guilty over the years. Two years ago, I was honored by the Dallas Business Journal with a Women in Business Award. I barely told anyone, let alone invite them to celebrate with me at the awards luncheon. Other than people who see my bio, most people would have no idea that this year’s award was the 12th for me and my company’s products and services.
As someone who belongs to a family of overachievers, I have gotten so used to expecting a lot of myself. And my career choices have kept that bar high. In my 14 years at Deloitte, I was surrounded by smart, competitive, capable people. So it was easy to say, “What’s the big deal?” when I accomplished something significant. Like many of my clients, my definition of “average” performance became skewed. I would “check the box and move on” when I accomplished something.
Earlier in my career, I didn’t realize what was really at stake with this approach. Over the years, as I worked with companies to develop top talent, I realized the significance of helping others recognize what they do well — and how they do it. For example, in my executive coaching, I frequently help my clients reverse-engineer what they do to get consistent results because they don’t even notice. It’s second nature for them. Once they realize what they’re actually doing and how, they can more easily teach others to do the same. And that’s when they can really start to have an impact on a larger scale.
Where does celebrating success fit in? It is an important first step to creating that bigger ripple effect. In other words, when you acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, you have to acknowledge the value that you bring. And if you’re motivated by making a difference, you’ll start to more intentionally use your strengths to do so. That could be through your own work or by teaching others what you know.
I am trying to practice what I preach. This year, when I was honored with the Dallas Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award, I stretched myself to buy a table and invite clients, friends and family. Although I felt awkward, I’m glad I did it. It helped me see how much amazing support I have in my life, and it reminded me that I’m here to make a bigger difference with my work and community involvement.
Before you move on with your day, identify one thing you will celebrate. Don’t put any judgment around what it is or compare yourself with others. Simply choose something, no matter how big or small, and celebrate it in a way that has meaning for you. And remember that small steps lead to big results.