As entrepreneurs, we spend a lot of time talking about (and sweating over!) the tough stuff – the challenges, roadblocks and speed bumps that get in the way between us and achieving our goals. And for many reasons it’s good to be open about these – talking through what holds us back can help us overcome it. But I think it’s equally important to talk about (and celebrate) the good things in the entrepreneur’s life. Taking a moment to relish the wins – both big and small – is fuel for our fire to get through that next day, that next deadline, that next goal.
I’ve talked to a lot of entrepreneurs and the one thing that is consistent among almost everyone I talk to is this – it’s hard to figure out how, and find the time, to celebrate those small moments. Sure, when you land a big client or hit your revenue goals, it’s easy to stop for those occasions. But what about the ones that aren’t “big”? The ones that no one else knows about, that no one else is celebrating with you? What about the small wins – getting your first sale, your first good review, or working through a difficult client issue. How do we make sure to celebrate those small wins?
Here are a few tips that have helped me make sure to stop and acknowledge my accomplishments, and relish, even if just for a moment, in those small “wins.” And I can honestly tell you that taking that time, and giving myself just a bit of praise, makes a world of difference – sometimes it’s really important to remind yourself that you are good enough.
Tip #1: Make a list of “small wins” you hope to accomplish.
A few years ago, I started making a list each week of the things I wanted to accomplish that week. This wasn’t necessarily a “to do list” – I didn’t add anything that was easy or I knew I would complete without much effort. My list, which I literally labeled “Small Wins,” consisted only of tasks that I knew were going to be challenging for me, ones that I anticipated I would try to push off or in some way was dreading, such as figuring out SEO, or getting our WordPress site set up. You know, the tough stuff. Then, I made sure to keep this list next to my desk, and every day I would look at it to remind myself of my goals. Simply by doing this, I was keeping them at the forefront and therefore was more likely to achieve them. And once I did, that list was a reminder to celebrate that accomplishment as a small win!
Tip #2: Always keep a prize in your house.
I personally like to celebrate my small wins with a glass of bubbly. It’s my thing, and it always puts me in a good mood and makes whatever I’m doing feel just a little bit “fancier.” In fact, I’ve even perfected my “small win champagne” habit and gotten it down to a science – since I’m usually celebrating/drinking a glass alone, I keep a few smaller bottles of my favorite brand in the fridge at all times – just in case.
It may not be champagne for you, but whatever it is that makes you feel like it’s a celebration – keep it in stock. This way, when you have one of those small wins, you can immediately treat it as such. After all, even the small wins deserve a celebration!
Tip #3: Don’t keep your wins to yourself.
It’s no fun to celebrate alone. Whether it’s a friend, partner or family member, share your small win with someone who will truly appreciate it – that person who is excited for your success and will relish in your moment. It’s never as much fun keeping your accomplishments to yourself, and by sharing what you’ve done with someone who cares about you and supports you, you are enabling them to encourage you down the road when things get tough again.
At the end of the day, remember that being an entrepreneur and working towards your goals (whatever they may be) is a LONG road. No matter what, there will be tough moments, but it’s up to you to decide if that’s all there is. You alone can choose whether to have some moments of sunshine on that journey. Relish the small wins. Live in those moments. And don’t forget to break out the bubbly.