The Power of Celebration

I hit my version of a triple crown last week. 🐎

In one day, three amazing things happened:

  • I got a major break on a dental expense.
  • I had a random $30 credit at my local health food store. 
  • I got to cash in a fun amount of $$ points on my credit card.

It was a banner day for sure, but mainly because I noticed these little victories.

How often do you get a win and it goes right past you? 

Research tells us how common this is. 

The truth is, we’re not good at celebrating, much less having a strategy for doing it.

Some say it’s a modern day epidemic. Our inability to celebrate is keeping us from joy. It’s breeding cynicism, increasing stress, and keeping us stuck.

We get stuck when we can’t acknowledge what’s working. If you can’t name what’s working, how will you get more of it?

This is a problem on many levels, especially when you consider the Positivity Ratio. According to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, positivity researcher at the University of North Carolina, “for every heart-wrenching negative emotional experience you endure, you need to experience at least three heartfelt positive emotional experiences that uplift you.”

Our brain is like velcro to the negative – it attaches there without effort. 

We have to consciously seek out the positive in order to create balance.  

This is why gratitude exercises can be so powerful – they force you to name the wins in your life. This practice brings our brain back to balance and a focus on what’s important.

Celebrating our achievements brings MORE growth.  

Positive psychology tells us that people who celebrate their successes are more likely to be optimistic, take care of themselves, and have less stress. Celebrations can also increase people’s sense of well-being, regardless of their age, gender, socioeconomic factors, or education. 

Author Whitney Johnson in her new book, Smart Growth, highlights how celebration is an important opportunity to cement the lessons learned on the path to achievement, and to strengthen the relationships between people that make future achievement more plausible…to make possible what we’re all after. 

This week is Interleap’s 4th birthday. It’s also mine :). 

Growing up my mom made a huge thing of our birthdays. I learned to like being celebrated. Unfortunately this doesn’t spill into other areas of my life, where I have a harder time celebrating myself. It can feel extravagant and unproductive, like we’re taking our foot off of the gas. No one in our culture wants to feel behind. 

The irony is that lack of celebration is indeed what’s keeping us from moving forward. 

Read that again. ^

In our Emerge program, we see the power of celebrating. In the last session, leaders get two amazing opportunities: to share the kind of growth and transformation they’ve witnessed in other people, and to be on the receiving end of what six other leaders have witnessed in them

It’s an unforgettable experience. No one ever wants to leave that call.

And every time we walk through it, I’m reminded of how deeply humans need this – the acknowledgment and testimony to the changes they’re making – and how little of this we tend to do. 

Naming and celebrating our direction and progress is how we get MORE of what we’re trying to create. Joy inherently follows.

So think about it – where are you missing opportunities for celebration in your life? What practice would change the way you do this? 

When you start naming the opportunities and wins in your life, you’ll get more of what matters. 

Just start looking – I promise you’ll find them.