Why I Celebrate Small Successes

Do you feel as if you’re not achieving anything?

You’re working hard towards a goal but it seems as if you’re not getting anywhere? Developing a coaching business often has me feeling that way. But a surprise email reminded me why it is so important to stop and acknowledge even the smallest degree of progress.

The Power of Celebration

A week ago, I received this unexpected message in my in-box.

“You’ll be pleased to know we’ve just promoted your IAPC&M directory profile on all our social media pages together with a congratulations message for your newly achieved professional status.” 

Congratulations Message from IAPC&M

This was a pleasant surprise but I quickly put it aside to focus on my to-do-list. However, later on I started thinking about what the image represented as I continue to build a business and I decided this small win was worth celebrating. 

Even so, I must admit that I hesitated to share the news. It’s easy to generate enthusiasm to recognise birthdays, weddings, graduations and anniversaries. But is it worth celebrating simpler milestones?

The simple answer is yes.

 All celebrations, whatever the size, are important because they increase happiness and well-being; improve focus and motivation; help to build confidence and to develop the positive habit of acknowledging small successes.

Increased Happiness and Well-Being

2019 was a special year as I transitioned from teaching to focus on developing an online coaching business. To add to my experience of coaching and mentoring in schools, I trained and graduated as a life coach in May. And in December, successfully completed the assessment process to be become an accredited practitioner coach with the International Authority for Professional Coaching and Mentoring (IAPC&M). The training and accreditation process involved making a huge investment in time and money. It was often a lonely journey with self-doubt as a companion. 

So yes, being promoted on social media by the IAPC&M was a small success, but the background story was about a much greater achievement. As I remembered all the hours of coaching, studying and being assessed, my mood lifted and I raised a glass to achieving this milestone.

Improved Focus and Motivation

Another benefit of celebrating small wins is that it improves focus and motivation. One coaching technique that I love using is to encourage people to write down all their achievements and to be intentional about reading them regularly. 

This practice actively reminds people of all the skills and expertise that they have used throughout their lives. Meditating on past successes helps to generate fresh energy to tackle new challenges with increased focus because the achievements are authentic. Whether it’s learning a new recipe; passing an exam; completing a project or helping someone achieve something, a success is a success. 

We often focus on the things we haven’t done or can’t do which depletes motivation and focus.  By intentionally celebrating progress, we affirm that we are capable and able to accomplish more. 

Build Confidence and Develop Positive Habits

Another reason to celebrate every success is how it changes our mindset. Every win takes commitment, skills and determination to finish what was started. By reflecting on all we needed to succeed, we realise that success is measured in small steps.

When children learn to swim, each achievement is recognised and celebrated with good reason.

 Becoming a confident swimmer begins with just being able to deal with water splashing on our faces. We then had to conquer fear and practice putting our heads into and then under the water. We used floats and arm bands as we learned to move our arms and legs whilst learning to float and breathe in a certain way. Gradually, as our confidence increased, we moved from the shallow end to the deep end. Each stage was essential and worth celebrating. 

However, as adults, we often undervalue how small steps build confidence as we aim for a larger goal. By consciously celebrating small achievements, we develop a positive habit that affirms our progress and recognises what has been accomplished so far.

Celebrate Turtle Steps

The power of celebrating small successes is that 

  • Our overall well-being and happiness increases as we acknowledge that we have made progress towards a goal
  • We have improved focus and motivation through recognising all the achievements we have made
  • We develop confidence and positive habits as we choose to celebrate small achievements.

So when I’m reluctant to acknowledge small wins, simply because they seem too small and insignificant, I remember this quote from Martha Beck.

“String together enough steps – even turtle steps – and you’ll eventually make it to the top of Everest.”

Martha Beck ‘Finding Your Own North Star’

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