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Winning – Do You Celebrate Enough?

Win like a European Soccer Team

Have you ever noticed how hard European soccer teams celebrate when they score a goal?  They go crazy.  They celebrate like they’ve never done it before.  They run around, hug their teammates, their coaches, and anyone they can get their hands on.  I sometimes hear friends criticize this ritual.  “Why do they celebrate so over the top?” Even when a great team scores on a mediocre team, the celebration is intense.  They give themselves full credit.  They acknowledge how hard they worked, how much they suffered, how good it feels for their work to pay off.

Even scored penalty kicks, for which the offensive player has a huge advantage, are celebrated with full force.  Should they celebrate like this?  The answer, in my opinion, is YES.

Do You Celebrate Enough?

How many of us have a victory, large medium or small, and don’t take any time to enjoy it?  We tell ourselves that we can’t afford to waste time, or we immediately start thinking about the next problem, the next challenge or the next bit of bad news.  We spend all our time working, preparing for, learning, practicing, writing, making sure our work product is as good as we can make it — damn near perfect.  If you’re a lawyer, you’ve made sure your documents are perfect, your argument is as good as you can make it, you’ve meticulously done everything you need to do.  With all the experience and training you have been able to accumulate over the years you have done your best.  And, you have gotten a win.  A settlement, a good deposition, good discovery, good investigation, a good result in a court hearing, a good verdict or arbitration award.  We may be happy for a short time, but “reality” sets in, we stop the joy and get back to “work.”

Sometimes we barely celebrate because in working toward the win, other things were put on hold.  A backlog has been created.  We go straight from our victory to reality, and because we are “serious” professionals, we subdue our celebration and get right back to work.  What does this do to us?  How much does this make us want to win?  If winning means getting behind and barely being able to enjoy it, does winning look much different than losing?  What have we won by winning?

Make a Routine of Really Celebrating Your Wins

The answer?  Win like a soccer player after scoring a goal.  Make yourself celebrate like it’s the only thing in the world that matters.   I don’t mean running around and jumping all over people.  But do the office-professional equivalent.  Go out with coworkers and take the family to dinner.  Think about everything you did right.  Think about your expertise, your schooling, your training, your research, your writing, your effort, your team, everything you did right.  Even if you want to think it was all luck. It wasn’t.  It was you.  You created it and you did it.

If you find yourself fighting me on this, ask yourself when the last time was that you truly celebrated anything in your professional life.

What will meaningful celebrations of even minor victories do?  They will increase the joy you get from work; they will increase your effort and they will probably increase your success.