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Let’s Celebrate

Even this year. Let’s celebrate more. Let’s celebrate the little triumphs, not just the big ones. Let’s bring more joy and pride to ourselves and our teams for every step along the journey. 

As Americans, we tend to only celebrate the big achievements. The promotion. The gold medals. The championship wins. This is so pervasive that when participation trophies came into being there was an outcry. How dare we celebrate participation, mediocrity, just showing up?

Today, I’m countering with how dare we not? Let’s take a moment to think about all that goes into that “participation.” It helped me to see that there is so much more that goes into that big win that is worth celebrating. That we would never have made it to the big win without all those little wins along the way. 

What else should celebrate?

Well then, what are we celebrating? We’re celebrating the caregivers who managed all those practice and game schedules. The ones who came to every practice, even a bit late and disheveled. We’re celebrating hard work, determination, consistency and drive. We’re celebrating the joy of playing, the joy of being a part of the team. We’re celebrating the kid who came and hid behind their parent’s legs because they were too shy. We’re celebrating the kid who got out on the field and stood there in fear. We’re celebrating their bravery in showing up in the hopes that next time they can build on that, even a little. We’re celebrating the lessons we’ve learned in teamwork, morality, sports and social skills. 

All these celebrations acknowledge what we’re learning and building over time. These lessons and this incremental growth are what gets us to bigger success. Moreover, many of these lessons are universal and apply to life as much as sport. When we learn them, and we celebrate them we build strong, healthy, brave children. If we take a step back and look at the big picture, we see there is so much more to celebrate than winning. 

Even adults need more celebrations

As an adult who has navigated tough days and 5ks I appreciate this need to celebrate all the steps even more. Have you ever gotten yourself to work when everything was going against you? The gas tank was empty, the coffee spilled, the kids were in tears when you walked out the door and you were late for a meeting. Be honest, didn’t even walking in the door feel like a victory? When someone sees that struggle and acknowledges it, don’t you feel a bit proud that you were able to manage all that? 

How about those goals we set for ourselves? Too often we only celebrate the goal and view the process as a failure if we never meet our goal. But what about everything that went into getting to that goal, or almost there? I’m going to fall back on a physical goal as I find them to be the easiest to explain and visualize. I’ve completed a few running races in my life and let me tell you they go much better when you train for them. That focused training takes weeks, but it is built on months and years of consistent running. Which means that every training run is a victory since we couldn’t reach our goals without it. 

What if we don’t make it?

But what if we don’t finish the race? Or run as fast as we planned? Well, there are still victories to count along the way, and lessons learned in the race itself. Every bit of training we did helped us to get faster and stronger of mind and body. Aren’t those good things to have and celebrate? Even if we didn’t get that ultimate goal? 

So, let’s all celebrate a little smaller and a whole lot more. Stop scolding yourself for what you didn’t do and start celebrating yourself for all the things you did. Success begets success and you are already a success. 

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