Are you someone who's learned that the only (or the best, or the quickest) way to success is to overwork? Or that beating yourself up is an essential part of success?
As a former college athlete, a type-A "good" student, and a doctor, this lesson was a near constant thread in my development, reinforced over and over. I became very skilled at pushing myself and at overworking. I believed that I could antagonize myself into being better.
A few years ago I decided to unlearn this lesson. Because beating myself up and overworking DID sometimes lead to success; but they also contributed to burnout, anxiety, and unhappiness.
The work of unlearning anything is difficult. And despite awareness, reflection, and coaching, I continue to see the habits of overworking and self-criticism re-emerge. When they do, I am usually able to recognize them and to work through them.
I’ve also discovered a new habit that counteracts the old; CELEBRATION.
If you are someone who’s viewed “hard work” as the only route to success, celebration is the antidote. When you make celebration a habit, you focus on the process and the effort – the journey, not simply the destination. And, because the things that you focus on tend to grow, celebration will lead you to discover more and more success.
I practice celebration in several concrete ways. My family & I share daily celebrations at the dinner table (last night’s included a basket scored during PE, a difficult math assignment completed, and a lost ski sock located!) and I begin my weekly planning by reflecting (and writing down) wins from the previous week – business, clinical, family, and personal wins. I also have a handful of trusted friends & colleagues with whom I intentionally share my celebrations in real time.
How can you integration celebration into your daily life? What can you celebrate today?