I attended a street party in our street last weekend to celebrate the birthdays of three neighbours and it was a great excuse to get together. I met a guy at the party called Joe who was known by some other neighbours. Joe had taken a couple of hours off work to attend the party. We got talking, and it turns out that Joe had been working hard in setting up his first business, he’d spent months getting things just right for when the customers came pouring in.

Joe explained that his lack of funds meant that he could not afford the much-needed advertising, so he decided that creating a true, newsworthy story was his best option for press exposure. He’d hoped that the local press would pick up the story. He’d sent off many press releases and finally a reporter and a photographer came to interview him and take his photograph. Joe’s proactive approach had paid off and yet it made him feel anxious. He wasn’t sure that his story would actually get printed in the local press.

Joe explained that as the weeks passed, he scoured the newspapers and did not see the article, until one day, there it was. Joe mentioned that when he saw the story in print, he felt a tinge of pride inside. And in talking with him it was obvious that outwardly he saw this as merely a means to an end; he didn’t recognise that this was an achievement. Anybody who had come into contact with Joe would not have been able to recognise how pleased he was with his small success. Now let’s be realistic here, it’s difficult these days to get a mention in the press. They inundate editors with press releases and they can’t print them all. This was a success! Joe’s story had been published in the newspaper for the first time. He didn’t think of all the people that might have read the piece and the effect that this might have on his business. Moreover, he didn’t celebrate this small, yet significant success. It’s a real shame, Joe could have built on his success with increased confidence and an opportunity to use the story as a positive link with family, friends, and customers. He could also have started to build a link with the newspaper for any follow-up stories.

Now many people reading this might think Joe’s behaviour was strange, but it’s not uncommon! And it doesn’t matter what size the business is either. In fact, the same can apply at department level in larger organisations.

If you fall into Joe’s shoes – even a tiny bit – here’s some do’s for the next time that you have a success whatever that may be:

  1. Celebrate small successes. Treat yourself, go see a film, buy your favourite bottle of wine, whatever you like. But do something different to celebrate.
  2. Share your success with others. You don’t have to shout, but you can speak loudly from the rooftops. In Joe’s case, he could pin up a copy of the article, carry a copy with him or post it to family and friends.
  3. Start a scrapbook of press cuttings and look at them often. If you have a business, put copies of cuttings in a folder with clear sleeves in your customer waiting area or on a notice board.
  4. Recognise your achievement for what it is, a small success that is helping you toward your larger goal.
  5. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate!

Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear how you plan to celebrate your next success?


Paul Stretton-Stephens

Personal and Professional Coach. Author and Speaker

© Copyright 2019, Paul Stretton-Stephens, all right reserved