If you had seen me the other day walking back up the driveway after getting the mail you probably would’ve been scratching your head and thinking “what’s up with her?” You see, in the mail was our daughter’s first college acceptance letter and it happened to be from her top choice school. It was definitely a proud mommy moment and I was hooting and hollering and jumping up and down in the driveway! I would imagine I was quite the site!
For a fleeting moment I thought to myself “Mission accomplished, my job is done…she is on her way”. Then it dawned on me, parents never cross the finish line. What we do instead is to experience wonderful milestones, when they first sit up, crawl, take the first step, get on the school bus, do their first away camp, get accepted to college, graduate from high school and so much more.
It also dawned on me after that proud mommy moment that our careers mirror parenthood in many ways. While we might cross the finish line when we retire from work, until then we are experiencing milestones. All too often though I see people missing the milestones that they accomplish day in and day out. I rarely hear people say “wow, I got a lot done today”. Quite the opposite; for the most part people bemoan what they didn’t get done.
While there is no documented evidence that an ostrich actually sticks his head in the sand, I think we all need to pull our head out of the proverbial sand, look around and see all that has been accomplished. You are successful. You have a job you enjoy. You are good at your job. You get a lot accomplished every day. You may not hoot and holler, as I did, with each milestone, yet celebrate – acknowledge your accomplishments. Whether it’s a promotion, successfully finishing a project, or simply returning all your phone calls today . . . celebrate the milestones.
Perhaps you’ve forgotten how to celebrate so let me share a few ideas:
- Take a break, walk away from your desk for five minutes or just sit peacefully for a few moments and savor the success
- Share your accomplishment with a friend or colleague . . . someone who gets it
- Actually take a lunch break, don’t do any work while you eat
- Hit the health club and work out, change up your day
- Do something that you don’t generally take the time to do
- Get outside, get some fresh air, go for walk
- Take a break from cooking dinner tonight, order in or go out
- After completing a major project, take some time off before jumping back into things – a three day weekend may be just the thing
Celebrating doesn’t have to be an extravagant event, it can be a calm, peaceful moment where you simply acknowledge to yourself “I did it”. Different milestones call for different celebrations; I’m sure you have your own ideas. The point is, you need to celebrate those milestones!