Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 1, Issue 8;   February 21, 2001: Celebrate!

Celebrate!

by

When you celebrate — even minor successes — you change your outlook, you energize yourself, and you create new ways to achieve more successes. Too often we let others define what we will celebrate. Actually, we're in complete command of what we celebrate. When we take charge of our celebrations, we make life a lot more fun.
Treasure flowers (Gazania rigens) at Alcatraz Island

Treasure flowers (Gazania rigens) at Alcatraz Island. Photo courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

How often do you celebrate? Chances are, not often enough. Most of us can remember to celebrate holidays (most of the time, anyway), personal events (birthdays, wedding anniversaries, divorces), and major career achievements (promotions, retirements, and the occasional layoff). But there are many more events to celebrate, and when we take time to mark them with the reverence they deserve, life is a lot more fun. Here are a few suggestions for celebrations that can lighten your workday.

Declare Thursday "Flower Day"
Buy (or pick) yourself some flowers. Get fancy if you want to. If you're having difficulty with this idea you're probably struggling with the image of carrying the flowers into the building from the parking lot in the morning. Not to worry, you can have them delivered. Maybe even ask the flower people to include a note: "With Love, George." Remember to sign your own actual name.
Leave work a half hour early
If you can't adjust your hours, this one won't work for you. But even if you do have that freedom, you still face some serious challenges, because there are millions of excuses available. Fortunately, every excuse has a workaround. If you have too much work to do, pick a day when you don't, or take some work home, or shorten your lunch, or start a half-hour earlier. If you have to pick up the kids, that's no problem — just make sure you arrive wherever they are on time. The extra half-hour is still yours. Be creative.
Celebrate personal successes
Celebration
lightens
your day.
After you
read this,
celebrate!
You just headed off a major confrontation, by pulling the right people together for some creative problem solving, and it worked. Even though others might not feel the need to make a formal celebration and hand you a plaque, you can do it yourself. It can be just you, or you can invite a few buddies. Probably you don't want to do the plaque thing though.
Celebrate the big little things
We're so used to celebrating only the events that touch others, we can have difficulty celebrating the events that touch only ourselves. Like making it through the past seven days reasonably happy, or without missing a meeting. Or without assaulting that guy who unnecessarily dragged out yesterday's staff meeting by a half-hour. Appreciate yourself not only for the good things you do, but also for the bad things you don't.

Science has determined that a normal human being's needs for celebrations averages 2.718 celebrations per week (not really!). Got yours yet this week? As for me, I'm celebrating finishing this essay! See you at the coffee bar at 4:30. Go to top Top  Next issue: The "What-a-Great-Idea!" Trap  Next Issue

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More articles on Emotions at Work:

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One of our great strengths as Humans is our ability to name things. Naming empowers us by helping us think about and communicate complex ideas. But naming has a dark side, too. We use naming to oversimplify, to denigrate, to disempower, and even to dehumanize. When we abuse this tool, we hurt our companies, our colleagues, and ourselves.
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When a cell phone goes off in a movie theater, some of us get irritated or even angry. Why has the cell phone become so prominent in public? And why do we have such strong reactions to its use?
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You're a team lead, and one of the team members is suddenly very ill or has been severely injured. How do you handle it? Here are some suggestions for breaking the news to the team.
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When some team members hang back, declining to show initiative, we tend to overlook the possibility that their behavior is a response to something happening within or around the team. Too often we hold responsible the person who's hanging back. What other explanations are possible?

See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

Prof. Tom PettigrewComing February 21: The Ultimate Attribution Error at Work
When we attribute the behavior of members of groups to some cause, either personal or situational, we tend to make systematic errors. Those errors can be expensive and avoidable. Available here and by RSS on February 21.
Daffodils of the variety Narcissus 'Barrett Browning'And on February 28: Narcissistic Behavior at Work: I
Briefly, when people exhibit narcissistic behavior they're engaging in activity that systematically places their own interests and welfare ahead of the interests and welfare of anyone or anything else. It's behavior that threatens the welfare of the organization and everyone employed there. Available here and by RSS on February 28.

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