everyday success

Blog Archive: Feb, 2017

Everyday Celebrations

When we think about celebrations, our minds run to parties, presents and maybe even a toast or a dance. We’ve a lifetime of celebrations so our mind quickly imagines an event. We know weddings. We know showers. We know birthday parties. Those are the big celebrations, everyday celebrations are a bit different.

Everyday celebrations don’t require hoopla though they may require forethought and planning.  Quite simply, everyday celebrations recognize something special about another person, a person important in your life.

Everyday celebrations can happen every day or every other day or once a week or whatever timeline works in your relationship with the person you choose to celebrate. 

Everyday celebrations come in many forms.  It may be you leave notes for that special person.  When he travelled, my late husband knew to anticipate the cards and notes I slipped into his luggage.  He’d open one each evening before bed but he’d anticipated each message all day long. 

It could be you make a phone call or stop-by for a visit.  It might be you take a few minutes of one-on-one with each of your children.  It might be you establish a date night with your partner or spouse and make it a ritual.

What makes it a celebration?  It’s a celebration of your relationship when you focus on a special facet of the other person.  It’s a celebration when you recognize them.  It’s even a celebration when you hear out their deepest fears because you are caring for them and their unique needs.  It’s a celebration of your relationship when you remember to tell that other person how much you care.

What do you have to do to make it happen?  You’ll need to watch and listen.  To celebrate another person means you are thoughtfully aware of their life experience.  Perhaps your spouse or friend is fearful for their job.  Perhaps your person is training for a marathon, a mountain climb or even a crossword competition.  Well-timed thoughtfulness will encourage them in their endeavor, it will make them feel appreciated and you’ll feel pretty wonderful as well.

What do social psychologists say about everyday celebrations?  It’s like a glue, it helps to strengthen relationships.  They also note that the path to personal happiness is strewn with small, thoughtful acts on behalf of others.

Failures Can Lead to Wins

One of the winningest basketball players of history, Michael Jordan, said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”  Jordan tirelessly practiced his sport; yes, he was talented but he always worked at his talent.

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, the record player and batteries.  The inventive Mr. Edison described his path to success as loaded with discoveries.  He said, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

For Jordan it was practice.  For Edison it was a learning process.  We don’t see either as a failure; we only remember their wins because their ultimate wins were so big.  Edison also said that, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not know how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Too often, we think we should be able to get whatever it is we want to get immediately.  It’s easy to lose hope as we move along our path to whatever is in our sights, to our immediate goal.  Rather than lose hope, rather than give up, the answer is to narrow your focus and be willing to risk yet another attempt. 

Don’t let a failure foil your plan.  Allow for failure but don’t make it a habit.  Instead, ask yourself what caused the misstep; then, figure out how to improve on your next effort.  Success is often a matter of persistence and courage.


For more on how failure is often found on the path to success, read Megan McArdle’s just published The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success or Innovate Like Edison by Michael Gelb and Sarah Caldicott.


Getting Out of Getting Stuck

It may be your diet.  You’ve lost 12 pounds but now you are struggling.  You’ve even gained back a few of those pounds.  You just can’t get your diet momentum back.

Perhaps it’s the mile a day you promised yourself.  You made it through 19 days all in a row but now you’ve missed 6 days.

It might be you are looking for a new job.  You dove right in and sent out ten resumes each and every week for one whole month.  Then no more.  It’s been another month without a single resume.

There are plenty of ways to get stuck along the road to a goal.  We all do it.  There are stumbling blocks galore.  The real question is how to get back on track.

  1. Learn from your stumbling blocks.  It is true that we all run into blocks.  To get to your success, use your stumbling blocks.  Figure out what happened, what got in your way.  Once you’ve identified the thing or things that can get in your way, it’s that much more certain you’ll get to your goal.
  2. Appreciate the small stuff.  Think back to the things that made it work for you at the start of your quest.  Often, it is the tiniest details that become the foundation of our success.  What made you feel good, satisfied, and proud in that first week?  Find more of those; replicate the good experiences and sensations.  Identify the details that make your change work for you.
  3. Break it into tiny actions.  Replace your afternoon cookie with an apple.  Put hand weights on your kitchen counter and as you wait for the microwave, use them!  Introduce tiny changes into your day and let them cumulate to bigger successes.
  4. Appreciate your success.  12 pounds is success.  You may have more to go but you have a successful start; enjoy it.  40 job applications or resumes sent or networking calls made is a big deal.  Those 40 may not have resulted in the job you seek but you learned a lot in the process.  Appreciate that you learned; use what you’ve learned as tools in your next efforts. 
  5. Make it a habit. Repeat your successes over and over.  Savor the sensation of success and then build on it.  Repeat those each and every day.

We like straight lines.  We want to race from deciding on a goal to achieving that goal.  We want to see ourselves atop a mountain after a steep climb pumping our arms in success.

Success is often the result of zigs, zags and rocky roads.  Never think of a road block or a stumble as failure; instead, recognize it as a mere zig on your road to success.