The Art of Celebrating Success

It’s a funny thing.

When I was in my twenties I thought success was all about achieving large goals. I worked incredibly hard, would reach a gargantuan goal and then move on to the next one.

The point is that I never took the time to celebrate that goal or look back on the many successful incremental steps that took me to that point.

I was in a hurry.

Life was not going to wait and I needed to utilise every second, every minute wisely. There was no downtime, no patting on the back and no self-congratulatory rituals.

Last year I turned forty.

I had just wound up a business that had drained every last bit of energy and passion from me over six years and I felt completely and utterly lost that I hadn’t reached the goal with that business that I had set myself. Never mind the fact that I had created and branded a product that went nationwide.

To me, market domination was the only goal I was interested in.
I felt defeated, depressed and unsure of myself.

Bull Rush Chocolate was Nadine's Nationwide chocolate business.

I had the wrong attitude. I never celebrated any of my successes along the way.

It wasn’t until a few months ago when I was looking through some clippings on my old business and talking to some ex customers that I fully realised what I had achieved.

Here in New Zealand, success is difficult to celebrate. We often feel we can only acknowledge it if it is something extraordinary, otherwise we feel that we will be seen as smug or arrogant.

In other culture’s success is defined quite differently and I myself now define the word as something quite different to what I might have.

So what is success?

It’s difficult to quantify and will change for every person. For me it can be seeing my children’s contentment as I read them a book before bed, and knowing that they feel loved. It can also be scoring a win in my job or managing to cook a nutritious yummy meal after work, every night, for one straight week!

Celebrating is more about allowing yourself that moment where you say ‘good job’.

That can be last thing at night, in bed reading a book. It can be having a coffee early in the morning before everyone gets up. It can also be going out for lunch in the weekend with my three girls.

Giving yourself the license to celebrate the little successes in your life is vital and it’s something that has to be learned, particularly among busy Mother’s these days. Often we feel in an ever hectic world, between work, home, and family that if we take time out to reward ourselves for our successes that we are in some way putting our family second.

This is simply not true.

A woman who rewards her successes (big or small), is a woman who knows her worth and appreciates it.

In this complicated, fast paced world - that self-fulfilment may just be the pathway to finding calm amid the storm.

Nadine has been an Agri-journalist working in print, radio and on television for 17 years. In between babies she also manufactured and developed Bull Rush Chocolates – a high end chocolate business that sold retail and wholesale nation-wide. A Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme scholar, she is now the Communications Manager for NZ Young Farmers and a director alongside her husband Tim on their 600 acre cropping and livestock farm in Mid Canterbury.