Three reasons why celebrating leads to stronger impact
On the last day of October, as the pink ribbons slowly fade away until next year, I remind myself daily to create awareness and to also celebrate my accomplishments regardless of how big or small. After the diagnosis, life took on a different meaning. I realized that I had to stop long enough to appreciate where I am at each moment. Especially in the ones that seem to be small wins. We are often too eager to move on to the next thing or too busy that we pass them over. Two years ago, on
October 12th, I celebrated what I thought would be my final round of chemotherapy. I remember feeling exhausted and excited at the same time. As the nurses entered the room, where I was receiving the "infusion," I had this huge grin on my face as they rattled their toys and celebrated the milestone (click to watch the video). We all clapped with joy. It was a moment that I will always remember. Although the journey was not over, we stopped long enough to appreciate the moment that we were in.
Was it time to celebrate?
Throughout my cancer journey, I had one doctor who told me over and over, not to celebrate for at least five years (that is generally the amount of time that it takes to determine whether or not cancer will return.) I have to admit, hearing him say don't celebrate was off-putting. However, his comments are no different than other comments that we hear throughout life, our careers, or even in business. The truth is, there will always be someone there who will remind us that things could go south at any moment. Today, I want to remind you that it is important for you to celebrate the small victories! Especially when times are tough. I learned three valuable lessons about why celebrating leads to a stronger impact on our lives and businesses.
Celebrating will overshadow difficult times. There is statistical data for everything. Most startups will fail within the first year of business. Fifty percent of businesses will not make it beyond five years. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. People will often times use stats to prove their points or to validate failure. What about the flip side of the data? If most businesses fail, what about the ones that succeed? Or the ones that come back stronger from the lessons they learned the first time. What is the healing and recovery rate for women who are diagnosed? We are inundated with negative information. When we are going through difficult times, the outside "noise" (i.e. data, bad news, reminders not to celebrate) seem to be magnified. It is during the difficult times that we have to be intentional with our actions. We have to consciously step back and make the choice to see both the small wins and the hard lessons at the same time. When we choose to do so, the once overwhelming negative situation will be overshadowed by the memories of celebration which will ultimately reframe difficult times.
Celebrating small wins helps you stay the course. Life is filled with deadlines and goals. As a busy executive, you are constantly working to produce results, both professionally and personally. As those goals are met, chances are, you quickly move on to the next task. Celebrating the small wins will give you time to reflect on all that you have accomplished. Even though I had finished the last scheduled infusion, I still had surgery and radiation left to go. But that day marked one journey coming to an end, not the start of another procedure. I had to celebrate the 16 weeks I had just gone through. If I had focused on the other procedures that day, I would have lost sight of everything I had endured. I would not have noticed the flood of joy and excitement that we all experienced at that moment. The energy would have been given to the next task, which ultimately would have exhausted me more. Celebrating the small wins boost your momentum. Additionally, it gets you out of the day-to-day grind of the task, allowing you to slow down long enough to gain more traction as you shift gears to complete the course.
Celebrating will lead to a stronger impact. "Bring on a difficult season of change," yelled no one ever in life. Regardless of where we are in life, there is never a good time for bad news. However, we have to embrace the seasons to ensure that we do not squander opportunities. Look, it is easy to get swallowed by self-pity. I know that change can be difficult to endure. I often don't share, but I went back on chemotherapy at the beginning of 2019. The side effects were worse than before. It made it difficult for me to walk, hold things, and my face darkened, which made it look like I had a mask on my face. Yet, when I look back over the difficult seasons, I see how the journey has refined me. As I celebrated the small stuff, like getting out of bed or checking my email, it gave me the strength to do more every single day. I showed up and remained present. I took on a role as president-elect for NAWBO Phoenix in June 2018 despite the diagnosis. That year, I worked diligently to move the chapter into a 5-star status with the national association. My business income doubled and I repositioned my brand. I was sworn in, as president of the chapter in June of 2019. Ending my presidency, the chapter received several recognitions from national, including the Chapter of the Year Award. It also won a Silver Stevie Award for Non-Profit Response. Celebrating small victories will lead to a big impact.
Impact and influence happen when we choose to celebrate the small wins. It is in the tough seasons of life that we see the most growth. Celebration leads to action. Action leads to impact. Impact leads to influence. They will all lead to cherished memories, which allows us to appreciate the big ones even more. So yes, the time to celebrate is now.
Aristotle: A memory is the scribe of the soul.
Angela R. Garmon is the founder and business strategist at ARG Coaching & Consulting Group. She uses her 20 years of change management experience to help her clients build organizational performance and increase profits by focusing on three key areas: enhancing leadership effectiveness, building team cohesion, and improving processes.