This week, I wanted to talk about winning. Everyone likes to win big--and it's an awesome feeling--but have you ever considered the value of little victories? So many times, we set huge goals for ourselves both personally and professionally ("Someday I'll own a house of my own", "Someday I'll be debt-free", "Someday I'll start my own business, or write a book, or save the world"), but do we ever stop to celebrate those moments that it will take to get there? The picture above probably looks a little odd but it remains one of my greatest personal victories. In 2015, my oldest son began to get serious about his health. He started working out, cooking his own food for meals, and running. He got so serious, that he soon had to buy a new wardrobe. Because he lived with us at the time, my wife and I never noticed the changes. You know how it is, you see someone you graduated high school with after a few decades and think, "Wow, when did they get old?", while the entire time you've been getting there yourself but you hadn't noticed. That summer, we took family pictures at the beach. When the pictures came in, I was shocked at the change from one year to the next. My son was a completely different man! But then I saw the overweight guy sitting next to my wife in the picture and realized that was me. So I went home inspired by my son's hard work and asked him to help me get where he was. I set a goal for us that in September we would compete in The Warrior Dash. It was a 5k obstacle course where you run through mud, crawl under barbed wire, walk on a 2x6 board over a huge mud pit while people try to blast you off the board with water cannons...and you pay money to get to do this! I had never run a 5k before (or any K before!), but I had this goal and we committed to doing it. When the day came and that firing gun sounded, my son and I took off and began this incredible journey. My son finished in 45 minutes. I did not. It took me almost two hours, but I made it! And I celebrated that victory like I'd placed first, even though I had come straggling in toward the end. It took me a lot of little moments to get to that big one. I had to reach my weight goal, discipline myself to eat better, and go to the gym on a regular basis. And even though each of those little victories was in and of itself not that huge, they were necessary and vitally important in my journey. So often, I think we fail to celebrate the little victories in our life. One of the biggest obstacles we face on the road to huge goals is just hanging in there because they can seem so daunting and such a stretch for us. Sometimes it even seems we'll never reach that moment. We look at the destination, and then at the journey it will take to get there, and find it disheartening. There are so many people who give up trying because they feel their goal is impossible, but remember this important point: Every small step forward takes you closer to the end goal! If you want to get out of debt but you can't today, save one dollar.
If you want to write a book but can't get it done today, write one page.
If you want to help a hundred people but you can't today, help one person.
If you want to start your own business but can't today, learn one new thing at your current job that you can use someday. Little victories count! Every impossible journey is a series of single steps along the way. Don't focus on that distant goal, focus on the next step it will take to get there! And don't be ashamed to celebrate those minor victories because they all add up. Even if all you are doing is one small thing today toward your end goal, you are still making progress! You deserve to be congratulated! I want to celebrate with you. Please write to me and let me know what goals you are striving toward this year. I'm not afraid to be your cheerleader along the way! Remember, you weren't meant to live as "average"!
P.S. This is just one of the things I talk about in my "Not 'Just' Anything" presentation. If you have enjoyed this and feel it would be beneficial to other people in your organization, contact me. I'd love to help inspire your team!