Do you want 2 million people to show up and celebrate your victories? Unless you are a major league sports team like the Chicago Blawhawks and you just won the Stanley Cup, you might be waiting a while.
And for most of us, that’s a problem, because we keep waiting for the huge wins in our life to acknowledge our progress. We think that we can only feel successful on the days when something big happens like a graduation, a promotion, or a project completion. And so the feelings of success are few and far between. (Even if you keep going back to get masters degrees, for example, you will still feel the rush of graduating only a handful of times in your life).
Not only does this mean that we will rarely feel like winners; it’s also bad because feelings of success help us work past the failures and challenges which we do encounter every day. I’ve found that people who can work through their daily problems at the highest levels often have a deep reserve of confidence and positivity that fortify them when things go wrong. And if you are trying to operate at a peak level, things go wrong a lot!
One of the ways you can develop this reserve yourself is to broaden the scope of what you consider a “win”. I first heard about this concept from Patrick Combs. He talked about creating a Victory List every day where you acknowledged the small wins that you achieved on a daily basis. His point, and I think that it’s incredibly valid, is that every large victory is the result of many small victories accumulated over time. We just tend to gloss over them because nobody is throwing a parade when we make a phone call that we’ve been procrastinating on or sit down to knock out a proposal.
It’s like the runner who wants to run a marathon. If they’ve never run for distance before, they’ll start small. They’ll run 1 mile, 2 miles, build up to 5 or 6, and then start making forays into the double digits. On the day they run 15 miles or 20 miles, they’re probably going to feel pretty good, because they’ve never done it before. And they know that it’s getting them closer to their goal on race day.
So today, when you have the small victories, acknowledge them. It could be:
- meeting a deadline.
- handling a professional conversation well.
- making a call or calls that you’ve been procrastinating.
- getting positive feedback from a boss or peer.
- making a contribution in a meeting.
The great thing about this – you get to decide what a victory is. So when it happens, no matter how small, put that win in your back pocket A whole pocket full of small wins will help you move past the inevitable daily challenges we all face. And moving past those will help you get to your big victories… and maybe even a parade!