Savor Your Success
We live in a world where achieving success is a moving target. Whether your organization is focused on sales goals, fundraising targets, billable hours, placements, or some other measurement to quantify success – it’s rare to celebrate hitting the goal before the bar is quickly raised to a new and higher level.
I get the business case for stretch goals and I’m not suggesting that ambition and increasing metrics for success are not important. However, it’s essential to recognize and savor the success of these significant accomplishments before moving on to what’s next.
Based on studies of elite performance, Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success that “an extraordinarily consistent answer in an incredible number of fields … you need to have practiced, to have apprenticed, for 10,000 hours before you get good.”
His premise is not without critics, but it honors the time and effort put into doing something very well. I urge you to focus on what you have accomplished and the work you are pursuing now. It takes tremendous effort to reach the goal and often that practice, determination, and labor is overlooked.
If you are a leader of people or teams, honor the work, the hours, and the energy your direct reports are putting in while working towards the goal. It’s not enough to hit the target. We must relish the success and truly celebrate how you got to the end goal. Immediately raising the goal to a new height can deflate the win and cause a dip in morale.
Celebrate Your Wins
How are you celebrating the small and large wins in your organization? This piece from Forbes has great suggestions you can put into practice.
- Send shout-outs of recognition – use IM systems, email, newsletters, etc.
- Tokens of success to honor the accomplishment – food, gifts, monetary bonuses
- Embed empathy and appreciation into your culture – foster a culture of belonging and have senior leaders personally thank individuals and teams for great work
- Encourage peer-to-peer recognition – appreciate each other’s great work
- Hold regular company-wide celebrations; include virtual options
- Spotlight employee/team accomplishments on LinkedIn
In the spirit of Brené Brown who shares a core lesson about accepting yourself just the way you are and embracing all your strengths as well as flaws, consider these words from her TED Talk about The Power of Vulnerability:
“We live in a culture of never enough: Never good enough, skinny enough, popular enough, never enough Twitter followers…and there’s only one way out of scarcity, and that is enoughness. At some point, we just need to say “enough”: I am enough. What I’m doing is enough.”
I may take a long time for the enoughness concept to break into the company business model. I do believe savvy organizations will infuse other metrics for success that impact more than the bottom line.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if organizations were focusing on goals in these categories:
- Creating and sustaining workplace cultures with a focus health and wellbeing
- Professional development
- Upward mobility and career growth opportunities
- Flexible work
- Fair and equitable compensation
- A commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Wisdom, Wellbeing, and Wonder
Defining success by meeting your organization’s goals will always be an option. As you navigate your career future, consider how you are focusing on savoring the success you have accomplished and relishing the work that is in-progress. Broaden your lens of success and consider what Arianna Huffington calls the Third Metric: Wellbeing, Wisdom, and Wonder.
Tap your curiosity and set personal metrics for success that gratify you. Savor the accomplishments you have earned and celebrate the wins. The company bar will likely be raised again next year, but you alone can define what success means to you.