78. A toast to success.

I ran into a neighbor of mine as he was walking into the lobby of our condo building carrying a spectacular bouquet of flowers.

Naturally curious, I asked him what the occasion was. His answer really got my attention.

The “occasion” was a celebration of success.

The previous week his wife had completed her first 5K run in a quest to complete a marathon by the end of next year and while this may not seem like that much of an accomplishment my neighbor pointed out that both he and his wife have long sought opportunities to celebrate any and all victories because, “Most of us spend so much time in self-criticism that we overlook the things that are working well.”

He went on to explain that this habit was instilled in him by his maternal grandmother who used every occasion – his first words, his first steps – as an opportunity for celebration.

It dawned on me that this is indeed a powerful habit and we would all benefit by embracing The Habit of Celebrating Success.

As my neighbor stepped into the elevator and disappeared from sight, I realized how potent his words were. We truly do “Spend so much time in self-criticism that we overlook the things that are working well,” and only a few of us spend nearly enough time celebrating the successes – small as some of them may be – in our lives and in the lives of our friends and colleagues.

A few days later I was relaying this conversation to a long-time client who told me she too had, in recent years, developed The Habit of Celebrating Success after she ran into a neighbor walking up to her front door, arms pumping the air in celebration of having completed a whole week of 20 minute after-dinner walks – something her neighbor shared she had been putting off and playing at for a very long period of time.

Interestingly her neighbor has maintained this habit and it has spread from a 20 minute after-dinner walk to also include two-mile runs three times weekly, first thing in the morning.

The neighbor enthusiastically shared with my friend the impetus for starting to run came from the powerful feeling of accomplishment she enjoyed each time she walked back into her driveway, arms thrust in the air in victory, having completed her short 20 minute stroll. She pointed out that when we practice The Habit of Celebrating Success those feelings of accomplishment become stronger and stronger until “they reach the point addiction” and we will do almost anything to recapture them which means we will sustain and repeat the very behaviors that we are celebrating.

It has long been known that “what gets rewarded gets repeated.” All too often we minimize or disregard the scale of our accomplishments and by so doing we lose the opportunity for self-inspiration that is so important to our overall well-being.

As you adopt The Habit of Celebrating Success you will begin to realize how nice it is to give yourself a pat on the back – how good it feels – and how good your friends and colleagues feel when you make the time to celebrate their successes with them.

As my friend so succinctly put it, “if we don’t celebrate our successes we will become quite used to not having any.”

I think she has a point.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

P.S My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at  www.lifesinksorsoars.com  and let me know what you think.

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