I spent last week on vacation with friends and family, a 350-mile rails-to-trails cycling trip from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh. The 7-day journey was full of everything you’d expect – camaraderie, sightseeing, food (and more food!), bug bites, sore derrieres, flat tires, and emotional highs and lows. I’m fairly certain that at some point during the trip every member of our party wanted to quit. So as we rolled into the heart of Pittsburgh together, we punctuated this huge undertaking with a collective fist bump … our moment of celebration.
No matter how large or small a success, we have the power as human beings to underscore it through celebration. To celebrate is to commemorate, whether to appreciate people, honor progress, acknowledge mistakes overcome and something new learned, or express gratitude. When we truly celebrate, we circumscribe an experience with a field of positive energy, marking it as worthy of pause and praise.
This is a declarative act, a vital—although often neglected—tool for encouraging new levels of performance, consciousness, and wellbeing. Rabbi and Jewish philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel once claimed:
“People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state—it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle… Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions.”
Celebration is a beautiful and generative frame from which to live and lead. So, fresh off the jubilant fumes of my bike trip, I challenge you (and me) to consider:
What is ripe for celebrating in life and work today?
There’s no need to wait for accomplishing something big, like cycling 350 miles. Perhaps your work-team achieves quick wins on a project, an employee shows up to her job with infectious enthusiasm, or your life partner shares a smile just when you need it. Celebration starts with mindfully observing yourself and the world around you and drawing attention to the positive; it is a life force that grows abundantly on itself. Through celebrating—this simple act of heartfelt pause and praise—you emphasize and energize moments of every day for yourself and others.
To learn about the transformational leadership programs, coaching, and culture change services at Wisdom Works, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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