Whether it is a big promotion, the completion of a project, or even a piece of glowing feedback from a manager, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate success.
That’s the opinion of Samantha Nolan- Smith, a coach and mentor for women looking to create sustainable success in business and life, who regularly champions the need to celebrate success.
“The whole point of putting in all that effort at work – possibly working longer hours than normal and really stretching yourself to get the job done – was so you could enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that comes with realising your goal,” she explains.
“If you don’t celebrate success, you rob yourself of that feeling and your life just becomes one of chasing the next goal and the next and ultimately, that’s really unfulfilling.”
Nolan-Smith also says that by taking or not taking the time to celebrate a success you are sending a subconscious message to others about the way that you value your contribution.
“When you choose not to celebrate but keep pushing through to the next project you send a subconscious message to others that says, ‘I don’t need my efforts to be recognised and I don’t need to stop. Treat me accordingly’,” she explains.
So how should we be celebrating success? For Nolan-Smith celebrating success means stopping. “We all need to recuperate and recharge so that when the next big project comes along, we’re sufficiently energised and our creative juices have been replenished,” she says.
She also suggests that women take the opportunity to nurture themselves: “Take the afternoon off, have a massage, see a movie or get a pedicure.”
For some women celebrating success means working towards something material that will serve as a reminder of their achievement. For one senior recruiter contacted by Women’s Agenda, that meant being able to walk into Tiffany’s and purchase a diamond necklacce.
“I was quite successful in hitting my target quite quickly, but found that rather than appreciating the extra bonus money I was just frittering it away and had nothing to show for my success,” says the recruiter who wished to remain anonymous. “I found a necklace I loved, pinned it onto my cork board at work and worked extra hard with that goal in mind.” And when she achieved her goal, she purchased it, saying she now has something she wears everyday to constantly remind her of what she’s achieved.
Business owner Heather Smith has taken an entirely different, but by no means less effective approach to celebrating success. Smith has a small bell on her desk, and every time she secures a new client – she rings the bell.
“My dad ran his own business on the Gold Coast for many years. He had a reception desk, and a little silver office bell sat on the front of the desk. When his business closed down, I took the bell and I sit it on my desk,” Smith says.
“I work virtually and while I am quite chatty on social media, I am quite discrete when it comes to talking about clients. So when I on board a new client, to celebrate the achievement I ring dad’s bell. It’s just a simple office bell. But it is really special to me.”
For Nolan-Smith, the key is that we actively celebrate success rather than the way we chose to do it.
“I think as women we’re not great at patting ourselves on the back. Society doesn’t respond as well to a woman speaking about what a good job she has done as they do to a man saying the same thing.”
“It’s up to us to change that,” she says. “To get comfortable with recognising the contribution we’re making in the world and to claim the time to celebrate.”