Celebrating Milestones

As women we tend to be so busy working our way through the to-do list that we don’t take the time to stop and celebrate. Then we wonder why we’re so exhausted and feeling unappreciated. Go figure.

Do you take time to celebrate milestones and accomplishments? Or, do you just let them pass by with barely a breath before you’re onto the next thing?

This week I happen to be celebrating a personal milestone – my partner and I have been together for 20 years – no small potatoes! And it got me to thinking about taking time to celebrate in general.

I used to always be so focused on the next thing on the list, getting more, and achieving more that I would actually dismiss what I had accomplished and what was right in front of me. I would literally pooh pooh away whatever accomplishments I had. I never felt good enough. Somehow, someway, I thought if I got better (at whatever I was pursuing) that then I would be worthy and it would validate my existence. Then and only then would I feel good enough, like I “arrived”, like I mattered. You can imagine the death spiral this created inside of me, right?

It’s worse than a glass half empty. It’s a glass half empty with a hole in the bottom.

You know what? It’s something you can never fill from the outside…

You can appear to be dizzyingly busy and line up metaphorical (and actual) trophies on a shelf, but it’ll never fill that hole.

There came a time in my journey when I first did some personal transformation work and things changed. (This work would end up being a huge catalyst not only for my personal life but for me starting my business.) At one point I was literally asked to make a list of accomplishments. Everything I had accomplished in my life up to that point and and ongoing daily list of accomplishments (personal acknowledgments if you will). What a foreign concept, right?

celebrating achievements
Credit Image: pepemczolz via Flickr
Here’s what I learned through that initially awkward exercise. I had accomplished quite a bit. In the absence of comparison to this person or that person, there was a sense of pride, progress, and meaning. In the absence of striving I could actually enjoy the journey and realize more of what I wanted. Seems contradictory but its not.

Another thing I discovered through this practice was that my fears of stopping to celebrate would result in settling or lack of motivation to move forward were unfounded. Quite the opposite resulted. I got to enjoy the NOW, feel a heck of a lot better about myself, and build a track record for future success because I was no longer navigating life through the eyes of a slave driver who could never measure up. I could trust in and rely on myself.

So now I have a regular routine of marking celebrations. From the practice of finding 5 Yays in each day courtesy of my mastermind group to weekly/monthly/yearly marking of milestones it has become second nature to celebrate along the way. In large and small ways I take the time to see what is really going on and be grateful for it. Whether its a pat on my own back, a Wahoo moment, or a more elaborate reward, it is a regular practice. It builds momentum, confidence, better results, and a lot more joy along the way.

How about you? Are you a task master? Or, do you take the time to acknowledge who you are and the results you create? Would love to hear your experiences in the comments…

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