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?