Celebrating success, however small, is good for your health

celebrating success

We are very good at running ourselves down or being critical of our achievements however, how much effort do we put into celebrating success however small?

If, like me, you lean towards perfectionist tendencies, then you can be very hard on yourself.  Though you may allow yourself a fleeting sense of accomplishment it is not long before you are wondering what you could have done differently or what you could improve on to make it even better the next time around. Why are we so reluctant to enjoy celebrating success?

Celebrating success doesn’t mean ignoring improvements

Being analytical after the event is not altogether a bad thing.  There is no such thing as perfection and things can always be improved upon but maybe we should learn to relax more and take more time to celebrate, revel in and enjoy our wins.

I was reminded of this recently.  For the past 18 years I have had PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) which whilst understandable is a right, royal pain in the bum.  One of the facets of PTSD is depression episodes where I cannot function, move, talk or operate in any way.  Over the years my psychologist and I have worked hard on getting these episodes down from every other week, to once a month, to every 3 months and then thought we had plateaued at every 6 months.  I had come to accept this was just the way of my new life and have tried to look at the positive side – that it may happen twice a year but that left me with 50 weeks of the year when I was fine.

This year has been different.  I have just celebrated the fact that it has been a whole year since my last depression episode.

Believe me this is a huge milestone for me.  To have successfully negotiated the trigger points, allowed myself to rest when symptoms were beginning to emerge and just generally being kinder to myself by being aware of my own welfare are new habits that seem to have worked and I will continue to implement.

To mark this ‘first’ I took time out with some friends who have been with me and supported me ever since the train crash, and we had a barbecue with a few libations along the way.  It was truly enjoyable and I relaxed properly and revelled in the success for the first time I can remember.

Celebrating success is an opportunity to share the positive

Since then I have acknowledged how much nicer it was to celebrate this small victory in my health than to worry about the ‘when’ of depression hitting again.  Unfortunately I know that there is a strong likelihood it will rear its ugly head at some point but I’ll not concern myself with it until it does.

With this acknowledgement comes the determination to make sure I apply the same sense of joy with every future success I have, however small or trivial.  I have also decided, because it is such a nice feeling and one I personally would like more of, I will also take genuine joy in the successes of those around me too. Celebrating success need not be limited to my own triumphs.

Why not join me.  Start with yourself – relax, revel and allow yourself to truly celebrate your wins.  Then celebrate the wins of others.  Believe me, if I know or am connected with you, I’ll be doing so on your behalf.

The Value of Positive Regard

positive regard and genuineness

Do you have positive regard for your colleagues and friends? It seems to me that today’s world is very good at tearing people down.  Everywhere I look if someone is doing well for themselves there are plenty of people looking for ways to destroy what they have.  Rather than saying ‘haven’t they done well, I am pleased for them’, there seems to be a concerted effort to dig up dirt from their past, decry what they are doing or attack their achievements.

positive regard not negativity

Praise rather than Criticise – Positive Regard is empowering

Unfortunately, I don’t think this is limited to the tabloids, celebrity or public life.  I hear and see very similar attitudes often expressed in workplaces, networks and boardrooms.  Luckily for me not arenas that I have to put up with for long periods of time.

We really need to think about utilising positive regard in commerce and our lives.

Positive regard surely has to start with having it for ourselves.  I appreciate how easy it is to slip into a negative attitude about our own self-worth.  We may hold back from expressing ourselves because we feel we’ll look an idiot or come across as an imbecile.  We don’t wish to lose face in front of our circle, colleagues or bosses.  And why?  Because we don’t want to open ourselves up to being attacked. Instead we snipe at others, but this is a negative way to achieve power. When you express positive regard rather than negativity it is empowering and usually makes you feel good!

However, the antidote to others negativity and feelings of low self-worth, and best shield I’ve found, is just to be your genuine self.

positive regard

Genuineness allows positive regard to flow

Genuineness is the ability to express our own feelings, thoughts and ideas irrespective of our insecurities or fear.  Genuineness is being direct, open and honest.  It doesn’t mean shying away from difficult conversations but it does mean dealing with them in an honest and open manner.

Sure, there will still be people who will take a pop at you or try to undermine you however you can trust me that being genuine always carries the day and at least helps you ride those particular waves of negativity. It is very difficult to be negative when faced with someone who is being genuine. It often triggers a positive regard as when you are genuine you tend to generously praise those who are doing well and that flows back to you.

And from genuineness comes genuineness reflected back.  If people feel safe and can trust your genuineness they soon open up their own to you.  And when this happens I’ve found it leads to better co-operation and a united front when trying to achieve things.

And the more of us that really take positive regard and genuineness into our daily lives perhaps that will have a knock on effect.  Imagine if corporations, governments, industries and financial constructs adopted similar traits how much nicer the world we inhabit would become.  Ok I’ll admit that’s probably a stretch at this point in time, but there is no harm in dreaming and I, for one, know how huge change can be influenced by the actions of only one person. Expressing positive regard rather than negatively knocking success celebrates the good in life.

So, go and take a good look at yourself in the mirror, repeat; “I am a worthy person who will show my genuine self” and then go out and be so.

Positivity – Positive action and thinking leads to success

Today Is a good Day

Linked with motivation, resilience and patience I have found positivity is essential to complete the full success compass. To be fair it probably underpins the other 3 and is a must have in your armoury.

Most successful people state positivity as their ‘must have’ attitude in their lives.  They, as well as I believe that a positive outlook and state of mind leads to positive outcomes.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”  Willie Nelson

But how do you develop positivity?

Suffering from PTSD depression episodes does mean I know all about how negative things, thoughts and situations can be.  Even if you don’t suffer from depression there are times when the entire planet, life, energy, and success can seem entirely pointless. The negative chatter that goes on inside your head about how ‘things are too tough to attempt, it’s not going to make a difference, I’m a failure/fraud, it is never going to work’ can powerfully take precedence over any other thinking and will scupper any plans or goals you had.

You must develop a positivity shield – it really is simple and quickly becomes second nature.

Every time you have a negative thought immediately think of an opposing positive one.

‘Ugh, it’s wet damp and cold’ : ‘tomorrow may be sunny’

‘I’ll never make my deadline’ : ‘I am working towards my deadline and still have time’

‘There’s not enough money’ : ‘how can I creatively use the money I do have’

It really is that simple.  Even in the darkest of situations there will always be something that you can juxtapose with a brighter idea.  It may not be true but just thinking about the positive possibility can have an affirmative effect and change the result for you.

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.
Lyndon B Johnson

Positivity can be learned

I promise you it does not take long before everything you think about, plan or act upon immediately draws out a positive thought or idea from you without you even consciously thinking about doing so.

I was reminded of this only recently.  I returned from a trip to Rome, having eaten as much Gelato as I could (Italian ice cream which is divine), feeling much heavier as my uncomfortable trouser waistband testified to. The very next day a vomiting virus hit me which laid me low for 4 days, unable to eat, with many trips to the bathroom.  Without skipping a beat, my immediate thought process piped up with ‘well at least that will shift the extra weight you put on!’.  Every cloud has a silver lining….

It is also a great weapon to have in front of you when you meet negative people.  You know the type I mean – the ‘it will never work’, ‘what on earth are you thinking’, ‘be realistic’ brigade.  Don’t listen to them, they are not you and don’t know what you are capable of.

When you practice the very small things I have suggested with your own Success Compass, remembering to use all four facets all of the time, in tandem, with everything you face, do or try I guarantee that you will begin to fly along your path and have the vitality, grit and endurance you need to achieve absolutely anything.

Remember: You are whatever you tell yourself you are.

This article is part of my success compass series; you can find the other articles here… The Success Compass , Staying Motivated , Resilience and Patience