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Celebrating Your Way to Success

Can you believe it?!? This is the 50th edition of my monthly newsletter! Whether you have been around since the beginning or this is your very first edition… THANK YOU!! I sincerely appreciate your time and I hope that I can continue to add value to your life.

FireworksAs I was thinking about what to write this month, I thought about celebrating this milestone. Then, I thought about the habit of celebrating in general. Have you developed this habit?

Celebration and Joy

Have you ever watched children playing? Whether it’s through competitive sports or just individually imagining and experimenting, it’s really amazing to see the world through the eyes of a child. They celebrate the little things.

Just this past week I was able to witness a little girl in the airport pulling her Dora The Explorer roller bag to the gate. She arrived and said to her mom, “Mom, I did it!! I carried my bag the WHOLE way!” I also watched two little boys playing with a new truck. As one of the boys made the truck’s siren go off, the other one said, “You did it!! You did it!!” My favorite occurred in San Francisco’s airport where I witnessed a little girl about 3 years old come running out of the restroom releasing her mom’s hand and sprinting up to her dad in his nice suit and tie yelling, “Daddy, Daddy!! I pooped! ” Oh, the joys of a nice bowel movement!

As kids, we celebrate any and almost every accomplishment. Then at some point in our lives, when we become “big” girls and boys and it’s no longer “cool” to celebrate our successes we stop. Why is that? Why do we start to call those people that celebrate “big headed” or “self-centered” or “show offs” or “immature”? Why does celebrating take on a negative connotation?

Does another person’s success somehow diminish our own? Is there a limited quantity of celebration in the world? Does their celebration somehow mean you don’t get your piece of the celebration pie?

Have you ever wondered why “excessive celebration” is a penalty in the NFL and NCAA Football but you can rip off your shirt, slide across the field, and have your team pile up on you for scoring a goal in soccer? Why does it matter if they are “showing off”?

Celebration and Your Brain

Celebration is great for your brain.

Celebration has also been shown to lead to increased trust, communication, and risk-taking. Celebrating creates a atmosphere of optimism and hope. It focuses the brain on creating instead of avoiding.

Celebration releases chemicals called neurotransmitters at the synapses in your brain and these intensify motivation to act for more solutions and celebrations.

What are you reinforcing in your brain? Many of the clients I talk with are trying to “fix their weaknesses”. They try to compensate for their shortcomings. By focusing on weaknesses, you are actually reinforcing that behavior in your brain. I want to encourage you the same way I encourage my clients – STOP IT!!

When was the last time you celebrated an accomplishment of yours? Celebrating your accomplishments equals focusing on your strengths. What your brain consistently focuses on are the thoughts and actions that eventually become your habits.

Og Mandino writes, “As a child I was slave to my impulses; now I am slave to my habits, as are all grown men. I have surrendered my free will to the years of accumulated habits and the past deeds of my life have already marked out a path which threatens to imprison my future. My actions are ruled by appetite, passion, prejudice, greed, love, fear, environment, habit, and the worst of these tyrants is habit. Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits.”

My Celebrations

What?? You don’t have anything to celebrate?? That’s not the truth! Let me give you examples of what I celebrated recently and how I celebrated.

  • The large box of Q-tips that I bought at first appeared too big to fit in my drawer but it wasn’t. So, I celebrated by doing a little churn-the-butter dance.
  • I ate only 1/2 of my delicious lunch and brought the other 1/2 home. Raise the roof!!
  • I called a kid out on strikes but it was only strike 2. Why did I celebrate a mistake? Because I was able to quickly forgive myself and joke about it to my fellow umpires. It didn’t affect my next call or my self-esteem as it may have in the past. Whoop whoop!

Why does any of this matter? What habits were I trying to reinforce?

By celebrating the Q-tips, I’m encouraging my brain to take more chances. Go for the big box and hope it works out.

By celebrating bringing home 1/2 of a high calorie lunch, I’m teaching my brain to form good habits around eating.

By celebrating my self-forgiveness after a mistake, I’m teaching my brain to not be so hard on me.

Your Celebrations

DanceWhat can you celebrate like a child today?

  • Did you control your temper in a heated situation?
  • Did you complete a task that you were procrastinating?
  • Did you say “Hi” and smile at your neighbor or a total stranger?
  • Did you step out of your comfort zone?
  • Did you poop?

What can you celebrate like a child today?

As for me, did I mention that I’ve written a newsletter for 50 straight months??

Whoop!! Happy dance… cabbage patch, electric slide, churn-the-butter! Sparkle fingers and sparkle fingers with a big gymnast dismount finish! Ta-da!!!

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