Good Morning! Welcome to day 17 of my self commitment to write each day for 15 minutes. (I can’t believe I’ve kept this commitment for 17 days!)
Currently tucked in a corner table at a Starbucks in Speedway Indiana waiting for a meeting to start. So I’m listening to coffee shop sounds and engaging chatter of strangers.
How many of you have beautiful dishes or glassware that sits in some cabinet or in a box in the basement? It’s collecting dust and waiting for you to pull it out for a special occasion. Or perhaps you were given a fancy bottle of wine or champagne and it sits in the fridge waiting for big news; a new baby, a proposal, a college graduation. I remember the special cabinets in my parent’s dining room where my mom tucked her fancy China and crystal glasses only to be used at Easter, Thanksigiving or Christmas. Maybe it was because she knew with three young daughters that if we used it more often it might break, but that isn’t the point here.
We often wait for the big news or the finish line to celebrate what is happening in our lives. Along the way we are hard on ourselves, we wish for things to be different, we focus on what needs to change or how much better things could be. We are quiet about our micro triumphs, our everyday moments of cheer and accomplishment. We wait to take out the China until things are really really magical. But what would happen if we started celebrating those micro triumphs? If we sent emails of congratulations and celebration instead of project status updates and progress check ins. What would it mean to your life or to mine if we pulled out the China on a Wednesday night and sipped fancy champagne from the crystal because, well simply because we are alive.
Each year as Christmas rolls around I have such gleeful anticipation for the three or four days I get to spend with my family. We all gather at my Aunt and Uncles for days of laughter, games, eating and discussion, a tradition that stems back before my time and my earliest memories are of my grandparents cellar and sneaking chocolate chip cookies from the refrigerator oh and church in the basement (a family inside joke that I think you have to be Italian Catholic to understand). These days I am older and I eat chocolate chip cookies in public without restriction. These days we get out my Aunt’s fancy tableware and we help her make her homemade lasagna and we celebrate. We say prayers for the those we have lost and we give thanks for the fact that we are together and healthy and happy. I love this tradition because it feels so good to stop for a moment and be grateful that I get to have these experiences, that I have a wonderful family, that we made it another year even if there are some arguments and sibling banter; we have more wine for those moments.
And I am starting to see that while this time of year is precious and unique, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. We don’t have to wait for the Holidays, for birthdays, graduations, weddings, promotions or big wins to celebrate. As a matter of fact, I would say it is most important and imperative that we get out the fine China on a random Wednesday in September.
The reason this is so imperative is because life is really really short. I have been working on a very big project at work for two years. It has involved probably hundreds of people, the potential for millions of dollars and it will be the biggest deal I have ever personally orchestrated in my career. Talk about potential for celebration. However, as we approach the end of the planning and head into the sales cycle I cannot help but be so proud that we even got here. I can’t help but want to hug my counterparts and say, “Can you believe we did this? That we are here, at this moment? That we learned this much? That we came this far?”. Because isn’t that the magic? The relationships? The ideas becoming actualities, the grit and the hard work and the strategizing. And shouldn’t we celebrate all of that?
I know we have to be careful, you don’t want to test the wrath of the thing—you don’t want to jinx it. But I also think that all we have is this day and this moment and I want to eat on the fine China and sip from the crystal.
My coaching excercise for you today is to look at your self commitments, all of them. Write them down on a piece of paper so you can see all of them. Maybe it is your commitment to the gym, eating healthy, spending more time with your kids, being a more engaged member of your community, writing that book, growing your business, completing that project. And maybe when you look at this list you see all the work that still has to happen, that is completely ok and normal. But for today, just today, I want you to take notice of what you have already done, where your micro triumphs are and how it feels to know that it was you who impacted all of those things and all of those people and all of those moments.
I am popping fancy Champagne in your honor today. Let me know in the comments or in a quick email about one of your micro triumphs and how it has impacted your life.
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