It’s easy to focus on the big wins and lose sight of the small ones. As an entrepreneur, I’m always looking ahead to what’s next and thinking about how I can accomplish more. Whether it’s more money, press, fame, validation, or acknowledgement, regardless of your profession, it’s hard not to want more. What would happen if you didn’t focus on getting more, but instead marveled in what you already have? When we get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities and routines that are supposed to help us achieve our goals, it’s easy to forget about what we’ve already accomplished. Focusing on the small wins can help us stay present and grounded — for both ourselves and the people around us. As I just celebrated the two-year anniversary of starting my business, I’m thinking about what’s ahead; however, I’m also focusing on how to celebrate everyday successes instead of placing all the emphasis on momentous ones.
Here are a few of my suggestions for changing your perspective.
1 | Acknowledge your goals.
- When I met Dan Harris earlier this year, I asked him about his success. He has a New York Times best-selling book, a podcast, and an app as well as being a news anchor on ABC. He has a wife, a son, good health and lives in New York City. What more could he want? Dan acknowledged that if his life remained as it is now, he would be okay with it. Naturally, however, as a high-achieving person living in New York — where there is constant excitement and opportunity — he is consistently striving for more. Wanting more is not a bad thing, especially if striving for it is what drives you. What’s important is striking a balance between being content with what you already have and acknowledging that you still have big goals to work toward.
2 | Embrace the moment alone, first.
- When something amazing happens, it’s natural to want to share it with those around you. The first time I was published on a major website, I stood on the corner of Bleecker Street in New York City wanting to scream at the top of my lungs. I didn’t, of course, and instead walked down the street with a huge smile on my face. When I posted the article on Facebook later that day, I received hundreds of likes and comments. That’s when the “what’s next?” feeling set in. I had thought I needed to validate my success by telling my social network, but really, the most incredible moment was when I was walking down the street, feeling that pride and excitement that I had accomplished one of my biggest goals.
3 | Share and celebrate.
- Once you’ve savored that elated feeling and processed what your success means to you, go ahead and share it with people you love and those who love you. The best part about celebrating with loved ones is that no success is off limits. Whether you landed your dream job or simply tackled a small problem at work or in your personal life, the people who know you will understand the significance of your achievements, large and small. These are the people who know your core values. Being reminded of these values can help you gain the perspective you need to know where to go next. “How do you know life is good?” asks Danya Shults, Founder of ARQ. “You know life is good because of your core values. Can you answer the question, ‘Who am I being when I’m fulfilled?’ I can guarantee you, if you do the work to identify your core values, or if you already know what they are and can refer back to them, the answer will be, ‘When I’m living my values.’”
4 | Keep a gratitude journal.
- Keeping a gratitude journal takes all of two minutes a day and the rewards are endless. In your journal, write down one thing everyday that you are grateful for. If you want, you can do this in your planner or on your phone, which makes it even easier to refer to your notes when you’re feeling down. I like to write the notes on index cards and spread them around my dining room table whenever I need a reminder that life is good. As writing in your journal becomes a habit, you’ll find yourself noticing the small successes more than ever before.
5 | Make day-to-day goals important.
When Alexandra Ostrow left her job and founded WhyWhisper Collective, she did so in the service of both her big and small goals. “I wanted to make my own schedule, to work for the positive advancement of other people and our planet, and to keep myself grounded in the things that truly matter,” says Ostrow. “I also have my day-to-day goals, which in some ways are even more important. These include spending quality time with my family and friends, making room for kindness and compassion — both to myself and to others, and feeling inspired and challenged by my projects.” By making room in her life for day-to-day-goals, Ostrow ensures that every day can feel like a success. “Every day that I’m able to do these things is a big win in my book, and something that I make sure to celebrate.”
6 | Learn from your mistakes.
- Mistakes happen. When you know a mistake is your fault, it can be hard to move past it. Rather than trying to forgive and forget, what about trying to forgive, learn, and move on? Harping on a mistake, whether big or small, can be paralyzing for your work and life. Think about it — would you obsess over a small success nearly as much as a small mistake? Of course not. Rather than stressing about it, remember that every mistake can be a learning experience. If it helps, you can even jot down notes about what led to the mistake and how you’ll prevent it in the future. File your notes somewhere you can refer to them if you want. Chances are, you’ll never look at them again, and you’ll have put a positive spin on it all.
How do you enjoy your small wins?