This is a topic that I hope a few of you can resonate with. If I look back to my first placement in recruitment I was overjoyed. I am pretty sure I smiled from ear to ear all day and probably all week to be honest. I floated on that cloud for a good while and it spurred me on and motivated me to try harder to replicate that success and feel that high again. As time wore on and the wins became more regular, I noticed that feeling lasted for a shorter and shorter amount of time as it became more ‘normal’ and then other factors came into play. My social anxiety and lack of confidence was being tested by the attention that I started to receive for my success. I was focused on more often in group meetings, started winning some internal awards, and I could sense competition from my other colleagues and at times could feel their resentment toward my success when they weren’t doing so well themselves (and often I am sure that was my own paranoia). I do believe sales environments tend to create that atmosphere and it is what it is, but it was a reality I wasn’t mentally prepared for and affected my enjoyment of the wins I was having at work.
So I internalised my happiness and often wouldn’t say anything to anyone when something great happened so that I could just keep the moment to myself and then swiftly move on to the next challenge or target. My anxiety also grew as I was nervous about my name popping up in meetings where I might have to speak, or get laughed at as I reddened with embarrassment. I look back it now and I realise I created a lot of my own anxiety by the way I dealt with my success. Not only that, but by stopping myself really enjoying those moments and having a chat with myself to register the hard work had paid off, I think it added to my inability to value myself as I should have and I don’t think I am alone in this.
I was always paranoid at doing too well and being disliked for it, or being perceived as arrogant. I realise now I spent so much time worrying about what others thought of me and how draining is that on your mental health? There is nothing wrong with celebrating our successes and in fact it is extremely important and healthy that we do. Plus, as long as you don’t let it go to your ego (no one likes that guy), then there isn’t a problem, quite the opposite. Furthermore, there will always be people that will resent your success. Unfortunately, though I wish it wasn’t the case, it happens, but at the end of the day, it’s a reflection of them and not you. We shouldn’t allow others to affect our mood or control how we feel about ourselves and our achievements.
Why is it important to celebrate success?
Science tells us, when we celebrate wins we release endorphins and this makes us feel happy and energised. Not only does it make us feel great but it helps reinforce the behaviours we need to continue when we face our next challenge. If we don’t celebrate, it trains our brain to think our job isn’t that important or enjoyable and this will prevent us giving all of ourselves to it. Over time performance will decrease as well as our motivation. Plus those who celebrate their success, in small and larger ways, are shown to be more grateful, more optimistic, take better care of themselves and are less stressed. I remember feeling, after a few years into my job and smashing my targets month after month, that if I had a bad month I would be fired. I was still holding onto the same fears I had when I first started into recruitment because I had never taken the time to REALLY take a step back and recognise what I had achieved in my career to date. I don’t think I even considered myself ‘good’ at my job. Of course if I had a bad month here and there I wasn’t going to be instantly fired.
You will raise the bar around you
I used to concentrate on those around me that resented my success but actually, more often than that it creates a higher performing team. Your success creates a benchmark people want to replicate and work towards and even surpass. As you all start to share in that success, you collaborate more, and as a team do better. It is far more satisfying seeing your peers do well than just yourself. Plus if you hate the attention, like me, seeing a group of you share in that attention and success is far more rewarding.
Success breeds success
It is totally true that success drives more success. Momentum is a beautiful thing and once you start to enjoy those moments of recognition rather than spurn them, or relish in the wins internally rather than just move on, you will keep succeeding and feeding that fire. Plus, as you continue to do well, and your colleagues join in, your business builds its reputation and credibility which only adds to that success. Once that begins to happen it also makes sense, if you work for a good company, that they will try even more so, to support you in whichever way you need, to enable you to continue to succeed.
I also think there are some great ways to help ourselves enable success. There are some simple things we can do:
Find out our why?
We have often been told about setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound). But I think it’s also vital to have that bigger picture ‘why’ which comes from creating clarity around those goals. To me this is more motivational than just the transactional achievement from having purely SMART goals.
Clarify those goals
Visualising your goals and how you will feel once you achieve them is extremely empowering. In fact, there are studies now that show by truly putting your mind and body into that future state you can alter your emotions (Read “break the habit of being yourself” by Dr Joe Dispenza). Not only will this push you towards that goal it will allow you clear reasons to celebrate your success as you know what you’re aiming towards. Remember these can evolve over time, our goals don’t always stay the same.
Little by Little
Don’t downplay the small wins on the way to that larger goal or vision. Make some daily or weekly goals that get you there because that can be more effective than just making that big picture goal. Keeping small and productive goals will be really key.
Be kind to yourself – stay optimistic
So things didn’t go to plan, or something has knocked you slightly off track, a meeting didn’t go as well, or you lost out on a deal you were really counting on – I know it is hard to see sometimes but remember that all these things contribute their own value. They teach you something along the way – maybe it shows up an area of development for yourself, or just not what to do next time you’re in a similar situation. Just focus on what you have gained from it rather than what you lost/didn’t achieve.
DON’T GIVE UP
Determination and tenacity often is a the differentiator between those that achieve their goals and those that don’t. Some days it might feel like you are going backwards in comparison to others. Remember on those days to look at the bigger picture and longer term vision. Don’t give up. Something that has really worked for me, even if it was sometimes hard, was that if something didn’t go my way or I got frustrated by myself, my situation or others around me, I chose to channel that energy into something positive that I could control. It might be another goal of yours or it might even be something outside of work that is also important to you like your physical health. It’s one of the reasons I love starting my day with a strong morning routine. If I go to the gym first thing and eat a healthy breakfast, I have already started my day with success and a sense of achievement. Do what you need to keep going even when it’s hard.
Hopefully this article can help you start to realise the importance of celebrating your success. I know that as I move forward into my own business I am going to focus on the small wins and celebrating them AS they happen (don’t put it off). It doesn’t have to mean popping a bottle of champagne each time, but maybe just a few minutes of reflecting on what I achieved and how I can replicate that again, or treating myself to my favourite meal, or telling someone close to you that you care about so you are not just internalising it. I promise it will feel AMAZING.