Why has the acceptance of personal success become so taboo in our society today? In many cases, I think it is because we fail to recognize success when it arrives. When you struggle for something over a long period, the effort you expend in doing so can become second nature. It can be difficult to interrupt the effort long enough to recognize what you've achieved and to take a bit of time to actually congratulate yourself on a job well done.
Since my last article on the Huffington Post, I have acquired a new title: published author. I wish I were here to discuss how I celebrated this personal success, but--in the theme of this post--I did exactly the opposite; I rejected it. After spending a great deal of time reflecting on the highs and lows of this personal milestone, I realized the importance of making a conscious effort to define success in a way that allows an individual to focus inward and embrace that achievement.
As you may notice after perusing the last few posts on my personal blog, A Beautiful Ripple Effect, the journey to publication has been incredibly difficult for me. I would never have imagined that I would actually suffer more during this process than while I was actually writing the book, yet I did. Incredibly, over the past two months, I've learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. I have been striving to live authentically and not hide any of my wounds. Through that darkness, I eventually learned to embrace myself and my success, and this was a very liberating endeavor. Below is a quote that served as my primary guidepost.
Authenticity is a daily practice. Living authentically means cultivating the courage to be emotionally honest, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of light and darkness, strength and struggle; nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of who we are supposed to be and embrace who we are. Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving - even when it's hard, even when it hurts, and especially when we are wrestling with the shame and fear of "not being enough." Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.
- Brene Brown, Ph.D.
For the longest time, I was living with my eyes on a goal. I constantly felt compelled to push harder, go farther, move faster, and do better. Yet when we're in this mindset, even after we reach one of our goals, we barely have time to stop and acknowledge our accomplishment before we set our sights on the next mountain we intend to climb.
Rather than dwelling exclusively on our challenges and limitations, it's important to validate the good things that happen throughout the course of each day. Below are a few simple tips that help provide those much-deserved pauses for self-recognition.
*Celebrate your everyday achievements. I'm not talking about completing a marathon, here. The first step toward embracing success is recognizing that success, even in its smallest forms. Accomplishments like organizing the garage, making an insightful comment during a meeting, or writing the first page of a short story are all grounds for declaring triumph.
*Create visual reminders. "Out of sight, out of mind" is just as true for success as it is for anything else. Prevent your accomplishment from fading all too quickly into a distant memory by keeping that accomplishment front and center throughout your day. For instance, if your restaurant received a stellar review in the newspaper, frame the story and display it on the wall. Did you receive a complimentary e-mail from a highly satisfied client? Print it out and keep it at the front of your planner where you will see it often and reread it. Do look for ways to keep reminding yourself of what you have accomplished. After all, these are all successes.
*Don't be afraid to share good news. It's more than fine to mention your accomplishments to close friends and family. The excitement, support, and happiness they display will help you savor the success for an even longer time. Of course, be sure to return the favor by demonstrating your enthusiasm when it's their turn to celebrate a personal achievement.
*Write it down. One of my favorite quotes is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Character is everything." By keeping a daily gratitude journal and logging your daily triumphs, you'll give them the acknowledgment they deserve and increase the likelihood that they'll happen again--and again!
Some degree of stress and disappointment is inevitable in daily life, but you don't necessarily have to allow this to take center stage. By taking the time to focus on positive things--whether it's getting promoted at work, acing a test, or tackling that mountain of laundry beside the washer--you'll become that much more prone to rack up additional accomplishments. And along the way, you'll become a happier, more self-assured person in everything you do.
How do you celebrate personal success? Share your latest accomplishment in the comments section!
I am so grateful for your continued support!