Work-Life 6/23/2016

Small Victories: When The Means Guarantee The Ends

by Leslie Juvin-Acker

What makes a big success? What’s the difference between large and small victories? And, is success an attitude or is it a process? Find out now...

 Achievement is often equated to a singular event in which something good and substantial occurs. When these important events happen, we feel elated and in tune with the world around us. When they don’t, especially when we expect what that big thing is and when it should happen, we can be left feeling angry, resentful, and confused. There is a sense of alienation that begins to creep in - when we believe we’ve been cut off from results, we often believe that we must be on the wrong path.

At what point do we consider ourselves winners? When the victory has already passed? When it is at the peak of the moment? Or before the event has even occurred? We know that professional athletes do what is often called visualization. They imagine themselves performing before they’re even on the field. They imagine in their minds each successful twist and turn that leads up to and creates in its totality the achievement of which they imagine themselves having attained. With that said, achievement isn’t only a result - achievement is a process.

Processes are a series of steps taken in order to achieve a result or end. I know, I know - I hear many of you saying and have heard you say in person at The Shmooz, “But I’ve done everything right and I still don’t get the results I want.” Let’s ask some honest questions here: Have you really done everything “right”? And, why are you disappointed that the process you went through guaranteed the results you currently experience? You succeeded - in getting an unexpected result. In other words, we get so caught up on the results and the big victories that we disconnect the fully manifested result from the cumulative process. When this disconnect happens, we overlook the importance of the processes - the steps, the attitudes, and the small victories - that is actually the achievement in and of itself. This is when we try to take short cuts, cut corners, ignore our needs and the needs of others, and try to win big at all costs.

Take the analogy of a redwood tree in all its gigantic glory. At what point does one decide when a redwood tree is impressive and beautiful? Was it when it was a seed? Or, when it made its way through the soil or when it surpassed trees of normal height? Or, when it finally reached its maximum height? Some amongst us might even be disappointed that the giant redwood didn’t get as big as expected - maybe by a few meters. These questions also are aimed to ask ourselves at what point do we decide that we’re successful and victorious?

What if professional success isn’t one giant moment in which everything “magically” aligns and when everyone else recognizes us? What if, instead, success is in being, not in having? I hear many coaching clients tell me, “I’ll be happy when…” and “When I see that result, then I’ll turn around my attitude…”. Delaying the habitual work of success forever places it into the future. So, why not now?

I’ve heard other clients say, “It’s cool that this (event) happened… but I still can’t make ends meet… what’s in it for me.” These individuals can’t mindfully acknowledge, let alone be grateful for something good that has just happened for them.  They rather focus on what is lacking instead of being grateful for the small victory that they just experienced. What good does it serve to work with professionals who can’t notice success - even if it hit them in the face? Small victories are opportunities for more success. If you can’t be in the frame of mind to recognize success, then how can you possibly be one?

Successful companies are process oriented, seeing success is attainable in every step, not just in the big payoff. And, successful professionals want to work with other people who recognize success in every form (big and small). Because success is both an attitude and an eternal process of learning and opportunity.

To answer the questions about the redwoods - what if the redwood was glorious at every stage? Because the redwood doesn’t say to itself - I’ll be happy when I’ve reached 380 feet. It honors itself where it is in its growth stage, not just in its maturity.

Coach Leslie Juvin-Acker’s Questions To Ask Ourselves

?     So how about you? At what point in your career have you considered yourself a success?

?     What were those big victories? What about the overlooked small ones?

?     Are you process oriented or do you look at the end result to judge your process?

?     What do you consider small successes? Big successes?

?     Do you overlook the process in an attempt to attain specific results?

?     How would you describe your success process?