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Celebrating Achievements and Reaching Your Summit

person on summit of mountain raises arms to celebrate achievement

This article was originally published on February 5, 2018 and has been updated.

Although we reach “summits” in our lives regularly, we often don’t celebrate these achievements.

Whether big or small, it is crucial that we celebrate personal achievements in our lives.

It is even more important to celebrate yourself.

Some days, it might feel like life is a constant climb. A constant struggle. Despite all our efforts, conditions arise to erode our spirit and it can feel like we make zero progress. When you feel like you haven’t made any progress, it makes you question why you should bother trying.

These types of life events (struggles and roadblocks to our goals) can make us feel like we are losing ground, instead of rebuilding forward momentum.

The fact is, every struggle we overcome to reach a goal—big or small—is an achievement in itself.

Do you celebrate these achievements? Both big and small? Do you celebrate yourself?

I’m not in favor of a false or inflated view of circumstances, but when I ask audience members all over the world these questions, the unified answer is always “no.”

The Importance of Celebrating Personal Achievements

We all need to celebrate our successes and achievements—summits—more often. But we don’t have to wait for a big one.

Little personal achievements count, too.

Do not wait for permission to celebrate achievements. Start now—even if you’re the only one dancing on the top!

Most people I work with say big summits are rarely celebrated as personal achievements, and small summits—those little day-to-day personal achievements—are almost always overlooked.

While it’s not always easy to concisely celebrate these small personal summits, when we do, the payoff is huge.

And the payoff is momentum.

Celebrate Achievements and Build Momentum

woman raises arms to celebrate achievements on summit of mountain

Great clarity can be achieved by taking a step back and acknowledging your summits. By acknowledging these achievements, you can celebrate yourself, every step of the way.

Each step you take to reach a goal is a small achievement in itself.

When you reach your next personal achievement, your view will be enhanced with optimism and expanded perspective.

This is how you build momentum.

Do not miss this incredible opportunity to redefine what is possible.

Celebrate big, but briefly.

In the mountains, we always celebrate the summit, but we also always move on quickly. Why?

If we stay on the summit for too long, a storm can come, lightning can strike you down, or the setting sun can make your descent to safety an extremely dangerous task.

I’ve learned to celebrate briefly, in business and in life.

I celebrate achievements in a big way—but briefly. And then I move on to the next task.

Have you ever had a moment in your life when you achieved a big goal—perhaps completed a big project or finished a big race you were training for—and then you celebrated, and relaxed?

Then, out of nowhere, you were slammed with bad news. Perhaps the project was having problems, or you developed an injury?

This has happened to me with several business projects. The project goes live, or we believe the effort is complete, so we celebrate—but for too long.

We hang out at the top, drop our guard, or become complacent in the sunshine of the summit…we bask in the achievement. Then we get hit with a reality check, discovering that the work is not done or that there are issues that need our attention.

It’s All About Perspective.

Perspective is power.

Take a look around you and take note of potential personal achievements. You will see opportunities around you that are just out of reach. When you reach your next summit, you will have more clarity on how to grasp these opportunities.

You can’t grasp these opportunities from the safety of your base camp, or during the struggle of your climb.

three people celebrate achievements on the summit of the central pyramid in kyrgyzstan

Mini-tripod self-portrait of Julia, Dima, and me on the summit of the Central Pyramid in Kyrgyzstan on the morning of July 22, 1999.

Achieve With Your Team

If you want to achieve with your team, but are struggling to reach that summit, communicate with them.

Ask your team, what should we climb next? Now that we’ve achieved this, what do you think is possible?

You can help your team achieve and declare their climb by pointing out the next summit or goal. They may react negatively at the thought of having to do more work, but when you help them identify the achievements in store, it will build momentum.

Your Next Struggle

Record your personal achievements in a journal. Review them the next time you are experiencing a struggle.

When you struggle again, remember to celebrate yourself. Celebrate achievements you have made so far.

Celebrate the struggle and hard work, but most importantly, celebrate yourself.

This has worked for me in a variety of life scenarios. Lessons learned during past struggles and past achievements are very powerful ways to help you overcome a hurdle.

The things you learn in every success—and failure—help you improve yourself. They make you stronger and better able to deal with every problem that comes your way.

Every achievement and every struggle, big or small, is a learning experience.

The triumph you achieve through your hardships is the most emotionally significant part of your climb.

The next time you are deep in a challenge, or at a fearful point of indecision in life, reach back into your history and relive a previous achievement. How did you get through the struggles leading up to it? How did you achieve it?

Here are some simple guidelines to help you leverage this technique:

  1. Choose a significant struggle you went through that resulted in an achievement.
  2. Relive it by writing it down or saying it out loud.
  3. Relive the emotions of fear and frustration when you were ready to give up.
  4. Relive the summit celebration moment.
  5. Commit to one small and low-resistance action toward your next achievement.

Want to learn more about overcoming your struggles and achieving your goals? Check out these blog posts!

Get Ready for the Next Summit

How to Stand Out, Earn More and Be More Fulfilled

Building the Momentum Mindset, or The Art of the Restart


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