Podcast Episode 18: Why Celebration is Key to Your Success


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Celebrating big and small wins is a game-changer for your career and business. When we are constantly celebrating means we are always in growth and creation mode. In this episode discover: 

  • Why it’s important to celebrate
  • How celebrating trains your brain for more growth and success
  • How to celebrate with purpose

Mentioned on the show:

The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity – And Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race, by Daniel Z. Lieberman MD, Michael E. Long, et al.

The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life, by Shawn Achor

Follow @jillGriffinCoaching on Instagram daily inspiration. Visit JillGriffinCoaching.com for free content and strategies to refresh your career.

Never feeling satisfied. Because you don’t complete the reward cycle that the brain needs. When you don’t celebrate you keep waiting for the external thing to make you happy.

Read the Transcript
Welcome back and thanks for joining me this week.

This week I wanted to talk to you about Celebrating big and small wins is a game-changer for your career and business. When we are constantly celebrating means we are always in growth and creation mode. 

Our culture is really big on celebrating activity and output. We want tangible results. I am here to say, YES, celebrate those wins. But I want you to celebrate the milestones along the way too. 

Here’s a little story. I have a client that has strived for a promotion within their organization for the last 6 months. We worked together to up-leveled their performance, they ensured they were becoming more visible, they maximized their results. They did not necessarily work more or harder, they just learned how to amplify their strengths and stayed focused. 

And guess what? They got a call from leadership that they were being offered the promotion. When we had our next session I asked them how they celebrated. They said they would celebrate once it was in writing. Within a few weeks, they received a formal contract with all the glorious details including a hefty raise and retention package. I asked again, how were they going to celebrate. This time they said they would celebrate once they had an attorney review the contract and it was signed. Eventually, the negation was finalized and they signed and they still didn’t celebrate because now, they couldn’t celebrate until it was announced. 

When it was eventually announced, they never celebrated. Months later they confided in me that they didn’t know why they were numb to it all. That getting the promotion, the whole reason why they hired me, didn’t bring them the feeling they expected. They thought that they would have felt respected, satisfied and that they finally arrived. But in reality, they said all it did was make them look towards the next goal and begin to strive and hustle again. 

This made me incredibly sad. We keep striving. Searching for the experience feeling that will make us happy, feel good, that we will finally find our purpose. And because we don’t celebrate along the way, we never feel satisfied. 

Our brains have a negative bias. Our brains are still running on evolutionary biology. You have to acknowledge and digest the kill in order to know you got it. It’s half the reward cycle. Without acknowledgment, the brain doesn’t know and keeps striving. 

We feel we need to protect ourselves. As if the win would disintegrate if we took a pause, and honored our accomplishment before all the bits were finalized. 

Many of us do this. We are afraid to exhale. We are waiting for the other shoe to drop. We don’t feel safe celebrating because until it’s perfect we feel as if we’d jinx it. 

I am not suggesting they update their LinkedIn profile before it’s public but honoring the win, asking yourself what you are most proud of, reflecting on your own resourcefulness, and maybe, just maybe telling a confidant so you can share your win is so beneficial to your brain and your success. 

We stayed alive for thousands of years because we were able to use this fear, the urgency, the alertness to our advantage. But today, since we are not running from sabertooth lions, this low-level fear, unsettledness, and worry keeps us from our growth. 

The problem is this thing called dopamine. Dopamine is really the anticipation molecule. There’s an interesting book titled The Molecule of More. I’ll put the deets in the show notes. It talks about how dopamine is really about anticipation. And this is a good thing. It keeps us alert, happy, and it turns on various learning centers of our brain so we can absorb information and use our intellect. 

When we get the thing we’ve been working for, if we don’t pause and acknowledge what we’ve created and relish in the victory (big or small) we experience a letdown. We don’t stay present. The high goes away. So you need to chase the next thing. And the next one. 

Never feeling satisfied. Because you don’t complete the reward cycle that the brain needs. When you don’t celebrate you keep waiting for the external thing to make you happy. Never works. Or the half-life is fast. 

We need to train our brains. What is practiced is repeated. What is repeated creates success. We train our brains to see what’s possible and then because it wants the reward it begins to look for more possibility. 

We complete the rewards cycle by celebrating the small and big wins. 

When you celebrate your win, a promotion, the micro wins along the way, that you are developing rituals where you can honor and create more success. You ask yourself

What am I most proud of?
How was I resourceful and resilient in creating this?
What am I most proud of that I had to overcome?

When you tell yourself ‘what you did as a result to create the win’, that is taking full ownership of the win. When you own a result fully you get to celebrate it. Equally, if you are not getting the result you want, you can change it because you are responsible for it. Own it.  

Owning your result releases your strategic thinking, systems thinking, your ability to problem solve. Owning the results that you cread and telling yourself how you did it makes you someone who is contracting, celebrating, therefore constantly creating. 

When a client talks about their win, I always ask them how they were resourceful in creating the win. Which strengths did they use? What was their biggest learning? 

I am doing this because I want them to teach their brains. I want them to practice celebration and success. What you focus on increases. When you are focusing on all your micro and macro wins you create a really positive energy. And then you take action from that place creating more wins and successes. 

And…I want you to catch yourself when you try to downplay your success. Or when you tell yourself it wasn’t a big deal. 

Stop doing that. If you are like many of us, we were raised with the idea that celebrating was braggy. And that you want to be humble and not make others feel bad. 

Ok. Seriously? Celebrating doesn’t make others feel bad. Ok, you can say unpleasant and dicky things, but you cant control their thoughts and thinking so you can make someone feel something -that’s their thoughts and responsibility. 

Also if you are arrogant and believe you are better than others, and your celebration is filled with an I’m better than you tone, then yes, that’s unfortunate and no one is going to want to celebrate you. 

But if you come from the lens of I want to celebrate, I am so proud of myself and what I have created then people will want to celebrate with you.

When you compete against others you go it alone. When you compete against yourself, others will join in your celebration. 

Shawn Anchor is a psychiatrist, who has a TEDx Talk, been on PBS, Oprah, all of it. He’s a real treat. He’s hilarious. 

He talks about positive psychology, happiness, and potential – the science of happiness. 

For most people, each time you hit a goal, you move the goal post. 

You think it’s the next success that will make you happy. 

If you believe happiness is on the other side of success, your brain never gets there. When you don’t celebrate you keep waiting for the external thing to make you happy. Never work. Or the half-life is fast. 

What Shawn tells us is that if you can raise someone’s level of positivity in the present, their brain then experiences what is called the happiness advantage. That’s the name of his book btw. 

Your brain fueled on positive performs significantly better than it does at negative neutral or stressed. 

Your intelligence, creativity, and your energy level all rise. 

Every business outcome improves. increase in sales, more collaboration, increase resiliency to a decrease in burnout. 

Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed. 

90% of your happiness is predicted by the way your brain processes the world. 

75% of job success is predicted by your optimism levels, your social support, and your ability to see stress as a challenge vs a threat.  

Mindset, exercise, thought work, connection with others, journaling, gratitude lists, mediation all help you complete the reward cycle enabling you to become more optimistic and successful. 

If you can find the way to become positive in the present then your brain works to be even more successful. If you can change the lens of how you view something you change your reality. 

We get to tell our brain how to change. We get to refresh and rewire our thinking around wins and how we got there. 

And you know what? The most practiced thinking is the one that wins. Think shitty thoughts and that will take over. Thinking celebratory thoughts and that is what gain momentum.

I believe you can become more positive in the present when you celebrate. It helps you see how the things you do are worthy of celebrating. It helps you to stop waiting for the THING that you think will make you happy. And you get to create excitement, satisfaction, inspiration, focus, and happiness now, AND along the way. 

The energy of winning creates more wins because your brain likes the wins and wants more of it. 

It’s easy to celebrate the obvious wins. I am asking you to celebrate the wins along the way. Not with confetti but with 
acknowledgment and appreciation, and pride for what you’ve done. 

When you start new jobs or begin a new experience it may be slow in the beginning. You have to find the wins even if they aren’t huge so you see the growth, you see how you are changing and creating the results in your life. 

So how to celebrate? 
I’m guessing you have a handle on how to celebrate the big wins.  Continue to do what works for you. 

For the smaller, or micro wins. 

Track them – if not you will burn out
  1. . You will lose perspective on how much you’ve done along the way
    Also makes it easy at review time because you have an easy list of wins.
  2. Save thank you notes and positive emails
    This gives us evidence. Then we are reminded that we have wins and we feel good. We then can create a belief for ourselves that we can believe before evidence. We believe it’s possible. We are energized. Feeling proud, good, happy, inspired. We then take action from those feelings and we completely shift our results. We may not have an immediate win but we have momentum.
  3. Think the best of yourself and others. Appreciation and gratitude are other words for celebration. I started this practice years ago where I would think in advance about how other people are going to receive me. I think in a mutual appreciation and love fest. I get jazzed about meeting them and what’s possible. I believe they think the same about me. I show up believing I am loved and celebrated and it works every time.
  4. I ask myself questions as part of my daily thought work practice. I look at all that I am appreciative of – my husband, family, friends, clients, my business–and I look to acknowledge at least one thing for each area every day. Then I ask myself questions:  What did I create this week? How have I grown? What was the best thing about today? What do I want to celebrate about myself? Then I decide the answers. Which are my thoughts. But here’s what happens. When I am in this place of appreciation I am creating and giving a different energy. Things shift. People want to be around you. They want to have you on their team. They want to hire and promote because they want more of what you are bringing to the table.
When you want more of you, others do too. It’s pretty amazing.

Ok my friends, celebrate yourselves this week. I’d love to hear from you how you are planning to celebrate and how you are leveraging the happiness advantage in your life. 

Email me at Hello@jillgriffincoaching.com or learn more on my website jillgriffincoaching.com