How to celebrate yourself - Happy 5th Anniversary [Wise Wednesdays]
What does it mean to celebrate yourself?
Yes, you might buy something you like, have dinner with loved ones or take an afternoon off to do things you enjoy. In the good old pre-Covid days you might even have a party!
All of these things amplify the joy we might already be feeling after an accomplishment or happy news.
But is that it?
What if you don’t feel like celebrating or you want some quiet time.
Do you just skip?
Over the past few years, I’ve skipped celebrations like my birthday. I didn’t even attend my PhD graduation. I needed a lot of quiet contemplation on what all these things really meant to me.
As I worked with clients on their journeys to discover the careers and lives they really want, I noticed a deeper meaning to ‘celebration’.
One of the meanings of celebration is ‘to make widely known’.
While modern culture tends to focus on making known to the external world, it’s important that you know the impact of what you have achieved deep in yourself.
A simple exercise I use with my clients is: “I acknowledge myself for…”.
It can feel a little edgy, especially if you tend to focus on other people and shun attention. But it is also a powerful antidote to the inner-critic and leads to a sense of quiet joy and grounding.
For example, as I write to you I celebrate that Wise Wednesdays is 5 years old this month. From a handful of friends and family, it grew to an email community of over a thousand people. In April 2019, it got over half-a million engagements between my Linkedin page and a reshare from the CTO of a national newspaper. That led to a publishing contract and The Success Trap book. Wise Wednesdays has also led to speaking opportunities, collaborations and connecting with new clients which means I can work full time supporting professionals and leaders to follow their authentic career path. It feels like Wise Wednesdays is a creative brainchild and it has a life of its own. I don’t know how long it will live but I’m committed to continuing to give whatever love and wisdom I have.
So I acknowledge myself for taking the first step one sunny afternoon in May 2016 and for my dedication and commitment to writing to you weekly.
Video: Wise Wednesdays #1
I like to start a coaching session by asking you what you’d like to celebrate. The shift in energy towards more clarity and confidence is palpable. It’s similar to the effect of gratitude but a little edgier because you’re at the centre…
It’s not always easy.
A client who successfully built a full time consulting practice in a year writing about what she loves felt stuck. She couldn’t celebrate and she wasn’t sure why. I asked her what she was feeling. As she searched herself with curiosity, she realised she had a limit on how much joy she would allow herself to feel. It was an ‘aha’ moment that helped her drop the weight of years of self-restraint.
You might feel that celebrating – acknowledging – yourself might not really be a big deal or that it’s somehow self-centred or indulgent to recognise and celebrate yourself.
But it’s estimated that 95% of our thoughts are repetitive and that 80% of those are negative. It’s also been shown that naming 3 things you’re grateful for increases happiness and that self-soothing is more effective against procrastination that self-criticism.
Might you give yourself permission to acknowledge yourself for one thing today?
Wherever you are and whatever you’re up to in service of the world, I celebrate you and thank you for reading Wise Wednesdays. I look forward to continuing our journey.
Photo: Celebrating by taking a trip into sunny London Town to write Wise Wednesdays at the RSA which was one of my first “offices” and inspired me in 2015 with its Reinvention of Work programme. (RSA = Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)