Randy Wolken, President & CEO
Our lives can become grinding. Day after day of hard work and effort can take its toll. One antidote to fatigue and decreased motivation is celebrating success. When we achieve meaningful outcomes and milestones, stopping to celebrate is crucial. Doing so can rejuvenate you and your teams.
Why is celebrating so vital to long-term and sustainable success? As humans, we crave appreciation. Celebrating our successes nourishes our bodies and our souls. It is as important as sleep and rest are to our health and vitality. When we celebrate, especially with others, we note how we and others can achieve complex and critical goals. It lifts our spirits and prepares us for what is ahead.
But celebrating achievements does much more for us and our teams than just feeling good. It builds our resilience and prepares us for the challenging work ahead. How are deeply resilient and capable people created in our workplaces and society? They have survived (and even thrived) during other difficult times or crises. We don’t develop skills regarding toughness and resilience by reading about them. They are lived experiences that teach us perseverance, coping mechanisms, and grit. We learn and develop into people better prepared for the challenges ahead. When we celebrate and remember our successes, we acknowledge and signal that these skills will be used again – and that we can do amazing things. Document and celebrate difficult times overcome to ensure that we remember we can do amazing things in the future.
Let me give you an example. In the summer of 2021, the MACNY team finished another successful year despite the pandemic and the economic downturn and continued to meet members’ needs. Surviving, and even thriving, during a pandemic is undoubtedly worth celebrating. We did something simple but meaningful. We had lunch, talked about our success over the previous year, and spent time together. This was followed the next week by awarding well-deserved bonuses to each team member.
What mattered so much to all of us was not a few extra dollars in our checking accounts. No. Instead, it was the gratitude shown to us by our board and its members for our efforts. Something as simple as these few actions sends messages of gratitude and appreciation for work well done. The reaction by the team was moving (and priceless). As a leader, it was so gratifying to be with such a remarkable group of people who would respond so graciously to a crisis like the one we had experienced. Beyond recognizing outstanding work, we sent a message that we are ready as individuals and teams to overcome the next challenge we will face. We build muscle memory by working together to serve members in the most challenging times. This resilience has come in handy repeatedly with every new challenge. The team knows it can overcome anything that is thrown at us. That is undoubtedly worth applauding and remembering!
Take the time to celebrate in small and large ways. It can be a card, a gift, a dinner out, or a long overdue thank you. No amount of gratitude is too small. Or, go big and throw a party! You and others may need it now more than ever. It will rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul, and it is necessary for the long and challenging road ahead. Enjoy life and what you are doing. You only get to go around once. Please make the most of it.