Celebrating Small (and Large) Victories

June 15, 2010

Last week, I had the good fortune of attending my first ticker-tape Stanley Cup victory parade along with approximately 2 million of my closest friends. It was a celebration of an amazing 2010 hockey season by the Chicago Blackhawks. In the middle of the sea of humanity, I came to a realization: no matter what age or stage of our lives, it is necessary for us to celebrate our victories, big and small.

It’s great to celebrate big victories like the Stanley Cup, the World Series or first place at whatever. It’s especially nice when there are others around to celebrate these big victories with us (like at a ticker tape parade). Chances are, however, we’ll encounter a lot more smaller victories and milestones than larger ones. And it’s important we celebrate every one of the small ones.

For example, if you’re a writer, a big victory would be to finish your book or get it published. A small victory might be to finish a chapter or a set number of pages. If you’re looking for work, a big victory might be to find a job; a small victory might be to secure an interview or networking meeting.

These small victories make it possible for us to experience big ones. Celebrating a small victory doesn’t mean parties and trophies. Usually a small victory can be as simple as an acknowledgment that you’re getting somewhere and on the right track to something. Small victories may not feel like a victory at all – they might give us a smile or even be mixed with a serving of disappointment.

Back in the 1990’s, I took a year-long improvisation program which included weekly classes that led to our group putting on a show at Second City. For me, these weekly classes were challenging. I had many moments where things went well, I got a few laughs and felt proud of my performance. But I also had challenging moments where I felt like I wasn’t funny or felt like I made a fool out of myself in front of my classmates.

But that’s fine – I always looked at my weekly classes as a small victory no matter how well or how bad I did. I felt this sense of victory because I knew I learned something about myself and felt like it was bringing me closer to something bigger. And it did.

After I had graduated from the program in front of my friends and family at Second City, I felt much like the Chicago Blackhawks did when winning the Stanley Cup last week. It was an exhilarating experience and one of the greatest accomplishments I had up to that point in my life. I learned so many lessons from my experience – lessons of teamwork, listening, quick thinking, creativity and laughter.

My biggest victory was coming to the realization that I could accomplish just about anything I put my mind to and overcoming a mountain of fear and self-doubt. I learned that anything is possible. And that, my friends, is just about the greatest victory we can celebrate.

How about you…have you celebrated any small victories lately?

1 Lori Franklin June 15, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Bravo, Tim, Bravo!

I love the energy in this post. Your words are lifting me up to the rafters and I feel happy for you. I’ve never attended a real ticker-tape parade, but I bet it must be an amazing experience.
Thanks for sharing about the lessons and observations from improv, too. I have a feeling that you’re really funny, Tim! 🙂 I think it’s great to experience something that triggers you to realize you can accomplish anything and to overcome doubt. Yay!

You asked about small victories, and it’s actually a very timely question for me. I was feeling kind of in a slump after I received some test results about my health, so I sat down to write my most recent post about all the *good* things that have happened to my blog this year. It certainly gave me a lift to focus on the positive and to remind me that I’m still doing some good in this world.

Thanks for this lovely, uplifting post, Tim!

2 Tim June 16, 2010 at 8:56 am

Hi Lori: I’m so glad you found the post to be uplifting. I’m sorry to keep bringing up my improv experience, but I truly grew as a result of going through that program. And I still recall vividly the feeling I felt right after our graduation show…I thought that this must be how it feels for a team to win the World Series (or Stanley Cup or anything on par with that). While the experience was very cool on an individual level, going through that graduation show was very much a team experience. Like all good teams, all members of our group were strong contributors. Perhaps that is what made it so rewarding. In any case, it was celebrating those small victories that helped me get to the big one.

I’m very sorry to hear about your test results…but I really enjoyed learning that your awesome post last week helped you shift your focus to a more positive frame of mind. I also know, along with your readers and everyone else who knows you, that you are doing a lot of good in this world and that you are an amazing source of light and positive energy in this world. Thank you!

3 Ryhen Satch June 17, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Nice post Tim. I can’t see you in the pictures. I guess you’re somewhere in there having fun with 2 million of your closest friends. That’s a strange looking trophy, that man is holding. Wait, is he holding a beer can? No? Ah, it’s the Stanley cup. Silly me. haha.

How about you…have you celebrated any small victories lately?

Hmm… Yeah, I guess. I went out to buy a birthday cake for myself after I realized that life is a game and I don’t want to play it seriously. =)
.-= Ryhen Satch´s last post…Kundalini Yoga: Awakening The Primordial Cosmic Energy =-.

4 Tim June 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Ryhen: Ha ha…I agree with you that life is a game. Maybe that’s why I like sports so much 😉 I bet you are one of us (I include myself here quite a bit) that enjoys dessert before dinner. About the Stanley Cup…man if that trophy could talk. I’ve heard a lot of interesting stories and seen some interesting pictures about people having fun with the trophy, drinking out of the trophy, eating spaghetti out of it, etc. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

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