I noticed myself doing something starting last year around when the pandemic began, and it came up again recently in a coaching session with a client. I have seen some evidence of this in other people’s posts on social media as well. What I observed was a hesitancy to celebrate. Especially things that might be considered “small wins”.
I’m not sure what everyone’s motivation was behind this, but I can speak to my own and the handful of people I have talked to about this have a similar thought. What was happening for me was that I felt a bit guilty feeling happy about something while others were struggling. Does this sound at all familiar to you?
It’s great if it does because it means you are empathetic. It’s also not great if it caused you to diminish your own success or not enjoy something you had accomplished.
NEW CITY, NO CELEBRATION
In my case I had moved to a new city, clear across the country and was really loving my decision. I felt weird about talking about it on social media in the midst of a pandemic. In hindsight with all the pandemic posts, people would have probably really welcomed something that wasn’t about covid though.
I was able to get into a gorgeous new apartment after a few months and I only shared photos with my close friends and Dad. Another thing I failed to celebrate.
This was now becoming a habit.
HOW I GOT BACK ON TRACK
Eventually, because of my master’s program and the availability I have to coach and be coached every week, this came up in a coaching session. I got called out by another coach. Rightfully so. I tried to brush off my accomplishments over the last year (graduation, moving during a pandemic, starting over in a new city/state) as routine. Thankfully my coach was not going to let me do that.
I started to look for ways I could celebrate AND realized that my celebration does not take anything away from those that are struggling.
I’m going to have my times of struggle and I have actually been lifted up by reading about other people succeeding. It reminds me that not every day is a struggle. I forgot this somehow.
I committed to a couple things:
1. When I finish my masters, I am taking a vacation as a reward for all the hard work I have put towards my career and education the last five years. I’ve earned the break.
2. I am setting up a new office space in my spare bedroom. Previously I did not have a dedicated guest room/office that I could do this with. I am going to take my time and enjoy this process.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT
When we celebrate our brains release happy chemicals (endorphins) into our body. These endorphins are so important for us because they help us reduce stress, depression and can even increase confidence.
During these challenging times we could all use a bit more of all of that.
It has also been proven that celebration actually changes your mindset. When I first started my journey back into my bachelor’s degree in 2016, I would celebrate the end of each course with a small “gift” of sorts. Sometimes it would be a book, sometimes I would go out with friends, other times it might be a massage.
After a while I got excited to START a new course because I had basically trained myself that there would be something positive at the end (a good grade, and hopefully a little reward).
The final thing I want to mention is that people actually like to celebrate with us. I had forgotten this in my guilt, but it is true. There are studies showing celebration helps to build teams, loyalty and happiness.
If you’ve been a bit shy about your accomplishments the past year, start sharing them please. Yes, there is a pandemic going on and people are struggling. No, that does not mean you need to put your entire life on hold or minimize your accomplishments.
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