I collected elementary school awards like Beyonce collects Grammy’s.
Teachers crammed us into the cafeteria-turned-auditorium for a ceremony where everyone returned home with at least eighteen new awards. I don’t remember what these “awards” (poor-quality certificates printed on 8.5×11 cardstock) were for or why I deserved them. But boy did I love walking across that stage in front of the entire school.
I think my Mom paid the principal to make sure I kept winning, because I was always up there.
And you didn’t just walk up and collect all your precious accolades at once. No, for each category awarded you arose from the filthy tile floor, strutted across stage, shook hands with the principal and returned to your seat. Moments later, we made the epic march all over again for the next prize.
The best part? The awards ceremony never—and I mean never—ended without playing Kool & The Gang’s, “Celebrate” as a max-groove outro while we returned to our classrooms.
And man, did it feel good to celebrate.
Heck, I wanted to celebrate all year instead of going back to class.
Somewhere along the way, however, I misplaced the art of celebration.
Maybe you did too.
The adult world demands productivity and efficiency. Put your head down and work your hindquarters off. Right?
Get in the car, drive down the highway, walk into your job, create value, meet deadlines, go home, pay your bills, be a good person, and definitely don’t stick out much.
When you do get to celebrate it’s rarely personal.
It’s only kinda acceptable to celebrate you if it’s your birthday. And even then, it had kinda better be planned by someone else because if not that’s kinda conceited, huh?
It’s time to recapture Celebration.
Because being an amateur is hard.
Taking bold steps forward is a challenge.
Sticking out from the crowd is a struggle.
So when you do something good, go crazy over it.
When you apply for that job, make that move, or start hustling towards your dream. The moment you throw caution to the wind. When you dream ridiculously big and take the small, unglamorous steps today to build a better story tomorrow.
Get your home team together and throw a freakin’ party.
Go split a pizza.
Make yourself a certificate, if you feel so inclined.
Reasons to celebrate go beyond simply feeling all fuzzy inside about your journey.
Celebration creates a legitimate time to pause, reflect, restore and renew your vision for the next step. Take too many steps without pausing to celebrate milestones, and you’ll find yourself hopelessly unmotivated. You’ll miss the purpose of the whole journey.
And here’s the secret to keeping it going.
Instigate celebration for other people.
When your friend takes a step. When they do that thing they’ve been trying to do for months/years/a lifetime, be the first one to step in and turn up. Go wild.
Let them know you see them.
You care about their work.
That you remember their coffee order.
Or that they really, really like balloons.
Celebrate their courage.
Acknowledge their bravery.
I bet someday they’ll instigate celebration for you, too. And then you create cycles of celebration that keep everyone moving forward. Tribes of hard-working folks like you and I jacked up about each other’s wins.
Which all sounds great, but real cycles of celebration are rare because few choose to stand up and instigate them. Somebody needs to start the party.
That somebody is you.
And the time is now.
Embrace the cycle of celebration, we’ll all be better for it.