In the Olympic spirit, take a moment to think back . . . when was the last time you celebrated at the finish line? Like the journey of an elite athlete, many of your efforts are years in the making. They require incredible dedication and hard work, as well as a more than a few sleepless nights. However, unlike an Olympic endeavors, leadership finish lines aren’t always so clear-cut, and there is rarely someone waiting to hang a medal around your neck to recognize your wins. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate at the finish line.
We all need to take the time to reflect on our accomplishments, and offer our gratitude to those who contributed to the effort. “Need to” is not the same as actually doing it, however. How many times have you merely moved on to the next major project, barely breaking stride as you shifted gears on the way to another impending deadline? Stop. Take a deep breath. Say thank you. Maybe even do a little happy dance. You’ve earned it. More than that, you need it.
Celebrating at the finish line helps recharge your batteries. It provides an opportunity to reflect on all you and your team have accomplished, which in turn motivates you to accomplish even more. It’s a chance to rally the troops and ride the wave of excitement from one victory to give you a head start on the next. With all the positives the come from celebrating at the finish line, why don’t we do it more often?
For starters, there is so much on your plate. You don’t have time to “play” . . . right? Well yes, I’m sure it’s been years since you have seen the bottom of your to-do list. One afternoon won’t derail your progress toward the next big thing, but it can make a huge difference in how much you enjoy the ride. Take a few moments to celebrate at the finish line.
But what kind of example does that set for your staff? If you expect them to work hard, you need to do the same, right? Besides, budgets are crazy tight and you can’t afford a big celebration. Okay. I’m fairly certain you have the example of hard work down pat. Maybe you need to work on the example of recognizing a job well done. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Ever hear of waffle cone Wednesday, or half price appetizers, or goofy games? You can get noise makers and confetti for a song.
The work you do is important, and it is a leader’s job to keep the flame burning in their people so you all can go on to accomplish even more. Celebrate at the finish line.