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Industry Insights

Celebrate Small Wins!

Christmas is a beautiful time of year. It’s a rich celebration bursting with eternal significance. We sing. We give gifts. Collectively, we hang thousands upon thousands of colourful twinkling lights around our homes. Christmas lights light up our long, dark winter nights and remind us that we have something worth celebrating.

And who better to turn to for a lesson on celebrating than the man most credited with the invention of the light bulb itself. If it wasn’t for the positive attitude of Thomas Edison, we might still be sitting in the dark on Christmas Eve. It took Edison almost 10,000 attempts to create a light bulb – that’s a huge amount of “failures” before finally finding success. But in response to his repeated failures he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Any epic breakthrough, victory, discovery or success story is made up of a thousand tiny steps worth celebrating. I’m not suggesting that we promote mediocrity. I’m not suggesting we accept anything less than remarkable. But I am suggesting that we can define success (and ourselves) by either what we do or by who we are or who we are becoming in the process. And I think celebrating small wins, or small failures as in Edison’s case, is important because when we do, we celebrate the development of our character.

Good things come in small packages. Celebrating SMALL wins

  • Breeds an attitude of gratitude.
  • Releases chemicals into the brain providing emotional fortitude to push forward.
  • Recognizes the importance of all our moment-by-moment decisions and actions.
  • Reinforces what is important.
  • Helps us measure progress!

I have to admit I personally struggle with this one. I kinda suck at celebrating wins. I’m future oriented. I’m rarely satisfied with where we’re at. I’m not what you would call a status quo kinda guy. I spend my days dreaming, planning, setting goals and envisioning a brighter tomorrow. All that idealism can leave me lacklustre about the blessings and developments being realized today. My team deserves better. [He’s actually pretty good. – Ed.] If you struggle with recognizing the successes of the moment, then your team might deserve better too.

Celebrating small victories doesn’t have to be a big production. I’ve found it’s best when it’s kept simple, spontaneous and specific. For example:

  • Give High Fives!
  • Say “Good job!”
  • Give a shout out to your coworkers at the weekly meeting
  • Buy them food!
  • Give gifts
  • Write cards
  • Hand out a trophy

And consider something I saw in New York City earlier this year. I found it painted on the walls and ceiling of the main lobby at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Included in the ambitious mural celebrating American progress are the following words:

“Man’s ultimate destiny relies not on whether he can learn new lessons or make new discoveries and conquests, but on his acceptance of the lesson taught him close upon two thousand years ago.”

I love that. Life is not so much about finding new and better things as it is about finding new ways to do (and celebrate) the same old glorious things!

Now it’s Christmas time again! So from our studio to your shop or office, we wish you, your team and your families a very Merry Christmas. May your holidays be decorated with joy, mirth and merry making. May the glorious news of Christmas light up your homes and warm your hearts. And may you continue to unwrap and celebrate the peace and prosperity of Christmas throughout the coming new year.

Written by Jason Bouwman, RGD

December 22, 2016