drums“We will be doing a dance to celebrate” they said.  I politely said “no…that’s ok I don’t need to do any dance to celebrate”.  “Of course you will be… that’s what we do”.  “You will love it”.

I remember how uncomfortable I felt with all the attention being suddenly drawn to me.  I had said yes to enrolling in a school for training and this is what the staff did when someone said yes.  They had a number of ways of celebrating with new students.  This was not something I had ever experienced.

After they rang a big loud bell and all the staff came over and one by one they congratulated me, they put some music on and we all danced to Tina Turner’s Nutbush.  It was so much fun! Then they all formed into two lines and created a tunnel for me to run through and I hi-fived everyone on my way through. After all the excitement, I thanked them and told them that not even at any of my birthday celebrations, had I felt so honoured.  I was feeling uncertain and nervous about going back to study.  The acknowledgement and celebration was a great way of bringing forward the feelings I had of excitement and anticipation of a new journey and a new career.

I realised that I had never really celebrated or proudly acknowledged any of my achievements.  I thought about all of the things that I had done in my life and how I didn’t celebrate any of my wins.  I would accept people’s praises and congratulations and thank them of course, and then move right along.  I would then just get on with the next thing.  Why is that so?  Why didn’t I stop and celebrate?

I soon discovered that the reason that I had not done that is because I wasn’t comfortable making a big deal about it.  I didn’t think that what I achieved was worthy of being noted.  I believed that ‘real’ achievements were ones that gave you initials after your name and a certificate to go with it.  I carried the idea that my achievements were mediocre.  I also believed that if I celebrated, I was bragging and being vain.  I believed that being modest and humble was the way to be.  Being my own cheer squad was being conceited and that felt unpleasant.

So why should we celebrate our achievements, regardless of how big or small they are?  When we acknowledge ourselves and celebrate our wins, we are reinforcing that behaviour into our subconscious mind.  We are telling ourselves that we are worthy, we are deserving of praise and success. We are reminding ourselves that we are enough. We don’t have to get to the next thing and then the next thing to be enough.

Years ago I took swimming lessons to get over my fear of putting my face in the water.  I did my lessons, pushed through the fear and I am now a great swimmer. This was a big deal for me as I carried that fear for over 20 years.  I also did skydiving.  I was sick to my stomach weeks before it and on the day of the skydive I thought that my heart wouldn’t handle all the pounding that was going on inside.  I jumped and loved the whole experience.  These are experiences that I should have celebrated.  These are achievements of getting through being nervous and fearful.  These are examples of being courageous.  That’s worthy of acknowledgement.

Celebrating these achievements would have reinforced in my subconscious mind that not only can I handle fear, that there is such great rewards on the other side.   When we acknowledge ourselves and celebrate our achievements, we also reinforce a reference in our memory bank. We create a reference point to remind us of our courage, strength, confidence and our spirit.  We have a reference of what it is to win.

So what do I do now to celebrate my wins?  It varies from a little happy dance to a full day of pampering.  Sometimes a dinner and champagne or I physically pat myself on the back.  The most important thing that I do is that I acknowledge myself for winning, regardless of the size of the win.  There’s always me telling myself :  “You go girlfriend, you are a rockstar!”  Then it’s about celebrating.

To this day, I still remember the tingling feeling in my body after the celebration of having said yes to enrolling into study.  That special feeling is still with me.  So, when someone asks me to do a celebration dance, I respond with “you betcha”.  Bring on the dance floor and all the cheering.  I am up for celebrating.

Cheers to me and you.