Tis the season, right? Too many end of year drinks and dinners, awkwardly fitting hats and some poor fashion choices.

You’ll spend plenty of time reflecting on the year that was (check out our own reflections in last month’s blog!) and making comments like “I can’t believe it’s Christmas already!” Which is usually in response to other comments like “Where did the year go?”

Celebration in its various forms are inevitable at this time of year which everyone embraces with gusto and a sense of expectation, because that’s just what you do at the end of another massive year, right? So why is it that so many of us struggle to celebrate the small stuff and achievements made throughout the year?

#startuplife is an excellent example. For the last 12 months the Cogniom team have lived and breathed our business, finding more hours to work than there seem to be in a day and kicking some incredible goals, and yet one of the biggest things we struggled with was taking the time to recognise our achievements and give ourselves a pat on the back for them.

The expectation of ‘ticker tape parades-running around with shirts over our heads-screaming the biggest WOOHOOs our lungs could handle’ type of celebrations was completely squashed by the reality of the seemingly never ending to do list.

While the level of celebration doesn’t need to be of traffic stopping proportions, the negative impact of NO celebration has been far more considerable than anticipated, especially when it comes to the mental health of the team.

The lack of celebration, reward or self-acknowledgement feeds an overwhelming sense of failure that comes thick and fast with the feeling of being ‘unaccomplished’ when you are constantly working from one task to the next. It’s unlikely to be something at the forefront of your mind every day, but these feelings have a tendency to fester in the background and build over time.

For us, we found they began to manifest when sitting exhausted at the end of the week feeling like we hadn’t even made a dent in the mountain of work needing to be completed. Or when some would ask “How are you?” or “How’s the business going?” which often times became loaded questions and difficult to answer, unable to articulate achievements simply because we hadn’t taken the time to recognise them.

Keynote speaker Eileen McDargh talks about the importance of celebration and how that acknowledgement of success breeds positive energy and motivation to continue with the next task and goal.

She speaks of response dogs who are trained to seek out survivors in disaster areas and how discouraged they became when they weren’t successful.  If dogs can feel that sense of ‘failure’ imagine how people are responding when they don’t allow themselves that acknowledgement of success?

So what is success? As Simon Sinek comments: 

“Success is a feeling,
not a series of check marks and goals”

While setting goals, whether it be personally or professionally, may bring a sense of direction and purpose, it seems that we’ve forgotten about the importance the journey itself brings.

One of the biggest traps we seem to fall into is attaching (sometimes unattainable) metrics to what we consider achieving success looks like. And yet, when you consider what ‘success’ looks like varies drastically from person to person, the additional trap of failure by comparison rears its ugly head, making celebration even harder when you try to see success through someone else’s lens.

In start up space we’re told its ok to “fail hard and fail fast” and that pivoting is more than just an iconic scene from Friends. What we forget though is those failures are just as important as the goals we set. We learn more from the moments that went wrong, for they are the stepping stones that bring us closer to achieving our goals.

Whatever your end goal looks like is almost irrelevant because success should also be measured by your journey. Celebrating the small achievements as well as the big ones and allowing yourself the time and space to recognise the things you’ve achieved and learned will go a long way for a more positive mindset.

Life shouldn’t be about always focusing on the next big  audacious goal. Our greatest lesson of 2019 is to not fear failure, but to embrace it, to celebrate the moments and feed the desire and drive to continue on the the next.

As we heed our own advice and celebrate our successes, it seems the perfect time to celebrate YOU, our supporters, our champions, our clients, our loved ones and friends. From the launch of TANDM 3.0, to the support and help navigating the sales and investment roller coaster, the addition of incredible mentors and our very first Advisory Board;

None of this year would have been possible without your support, encouragement and guidance. It is crazy to us to think just how far we’ve come this year, and as we change our mindset from blindly continuously working to a healthier outlook on success and balance, we can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed.

THANK YOU for believing in our vision and following us on our journey!

It is easy to lose sight of why you set out on the journey in the first place. Goals are great things to have, but not if they become a hindrance to your success simply because you forget to embrace the journey.

As the saying goes… “Don’t sweat the small stuff” But you should sure as hell celebrate them!

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