Celebrate the Wins

Photography by Victor Hernandez

Photography by Victor Hernandez

You have a dream. It's huge. It may take months or even years of dedication to achieve it. You set manageable goals. You go after them with focused determination. No one works as hard as you do. As soon as you finish one goal, you're on to the next - it's your recipe for achieving your dream. But wait a minute, there's one step missing. Skipping this step may sabotage your success.  

Setting out to try something new inherently involves getting out of your comfort zone. You're exploring new territory, stretching your abilities, putting yourself out there. It's scary business. There's a chance you will fail. 

What if there was something you could do to increase your odds of persevering, of achieving your loftiest dream, would you do it? 

A couple of years ago I set out to write a novel. It seemed like an impossible dream. There were so many pitfalls along the way, so many times it would have been easier to quit than to continue on. I had to battle my fear and self-doubt at every step. Sometimes I didn't understand why I was pushing myself. 

What kept me motivated to continue, despite the obstacles, despite the uncertainty of achievement? I took the time to recognize and celebrate my wins along the way. 

Last week I submitted a finished manuscript to a publisher. It will be several months before I hear back, but I celebrated a win that day. Some might argue that a celebration is not in order. After all, I haven't reached my ultimate goal of becoming a published author yet. I disagree.

If I hadn't been celebrating the small victories along the way, I would never have made it this far. Sometimes the celebration was nothing more than a moment of recognition, an acknowledgement to myself that I had taken another scary step. Sometimes the celebration was a fist pump or a happy dance around my office. This past week, the celebration involved sharing the news with the most important people in my life and a glass of champagne.

Your celebration can be whatever you want it to be, just don't skip that step. Appreciate your efforts, your struggles, your victories. Your journey may be long, but don't wait until you reach your destination, take time to celebrate along the way.