It was recently highlighted to me how we are always chasing a carrot. Like little greedy donkeys chasing the next thing: the next promotion, the next race result, the next PB, the next societal or personal tick off the to-do list.
Of course, goals often help to maintain momentum – a sense of moving forward in life. A sense of achievement. The trouble is, I don’t think many of us take the time to recognise or celebrate those achievements along the way.
Here’s an example. I was given an expensive bottle of champagne back in March 2013. I told myself I would open it:
If I got my place to study midwifery.
If I got my assistant editor role.
When I ran my first marathon.
When I ran my first ultramarathon.
When I got my first podium place in a race.
If I got a place to do my MSc.
When I quit my role in the city.
When I ran the UT110 and Mary did her Ironman.
If I got a PB in my race in Switzerland.
If I got another podium place in a race.
If I got a job with lululemon.
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
All of these things happened, but the bottle wasn’t touched.
Looking back onto all of these events, they have been momentous occasions in my life, yet I didn’t ever stop to truly appreciate any of them or the work that went in behind each of those successes.
And so, after being prompted at work to think about chasing carrots, I had dinner at my friend Fran’s house, and we opened that bloody bottle of champagne.
After 8 years of friendship in London, Fran was soon to leave to start her MSc and live with her boyfriend in Manchester. Although this in itself is a celebration, it felt appropriate to celebrate all that we had achieved over those 8 years together: surviving and then thriving in our science degrees, getting decent jobs, getting post-graduate study places, and just generally being functioning adults in London (not to be underrated!).
The champagne wasn’t delicious. In fact, it was so dry that we ended up pairing it with cordial to make it palatable. It was definitely not worth waiting for, or saving all this time.
I guess what I am – rather inarticulately – trying to say is, celebrate those wins. Revel in what you’ve achieved. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your achievements or that you have done well. No matter how big or how small, enjoy those successes. Don’t belittle your triumphs. They don’t have to be big, life changing moments – those smaller, daily wins matter.
To summarise, don’t be afraid to stand up and say ‘I am fucking awesome’.