The long haul will feel shorter and more enjoyable if we take time to celebrate the small victories we achieve along the road to fulfilling big dreams.
One Small Step for a Man or Woman
By the time you’re 40, chances are you’ve heard many times some form of the expression: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” This ancient saying points to the truth that you cannot complete or achieve something you do not start, which I don’t think anyone would dispute.
Less obvious perhaps is the sense of proportion this saying conveys between the journey as a whole and the journey as a sum of its parts. Each part, or step, has value. Each step is worth taking for its own sake and yes, actually marks progress.
For the dreamers among us especially, those who tend to apply an all-or-nothing standard of success to our achievements, a regular, maybe even frequent, evaluation of the little picture, of our individual steps, can make all the difference to whether we feel as though we’re winning or we’re losing; succeeding or failing.
But when we’re caught up in those extremes, moderation can feel a lot more intimidating than losing or failing. Losing or failing can be about the dream or the goal. But moderating our expectations and rewiring our internal engagement criteria can feel like overwhelming adjustments that are beyond our capacity.
One antidote I have found to this dilemma is to celebrate small things; those incremental measures of progress that pop up all along the way.
My Uncle, the Godfather
On March 23, 2017, my uncle and godfather Leo Hinkley turned 91 years old. That Saturday, his family celebrated his birthday with a raucous, lively pizza party. We sang Happy Birthday every time anyone new entered the room and at the drop of a hat after that, once everyone had arrived.
Uncle Leo is a model and an inspiration, not only as a man and a survivor, but as a guest of honor. He shamelessly revels in the spotlight without ego or pretension. After he’d opened his many cards and presents, my cousin, Michael, remarked, “You made out pretty well this year, Daddy.”
My uncle nonchalantly replied, “Yes. I made out very well for someone who doesn’t need anything.”
The Hinkleys have always been great celebrators. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, funerals – every milestone you can think of and some you can’t are marked on the calendar, parties planned, invitations sent out, presents bought and wrapped and the ritual of celebration performed with great gusto, plenty of food and drink, and a lot of laughter.
Elaine and I are so fortunate to have been a part of so many of the Hinkley family celebrations over the years; celebrations that have lifted my spirits and opened my eyes to the small, mundane victories we all achieve but that I, for one, usually discount or overlook because they aren’t as big and as flashy as my lofty dreams.
It seems the Universe might be trying to drive this point home to me by delivering good news to both Maturepreneurial and Dishes Delish during March.
- Elaine’s interview with Lyn Slater, the Accidental Icon, posted on March 15 has enjoyed the greatest number of page views and downloads we’ve seen so far.
- Our subscription list continues to grow and we’re seeing new visitors to the site and greater consumption of our content all the time.
- With Dr. Joe Tata’s interview this past Wednesday, Elaine posted her 27th Maturepreneurial episode.
- Elaine was recently contacted by a service that connects its members with podcast hosts looking for guests. A partnership with this service could lead to more interviews and wider exposure with less work for Elaine.
- Dishes Delish was featured in the Foodie Tribe March 17 newsletter, with a link back to the Foodie Tribe blog and Elaine’s Brazen Bourbon Meatball appetizer recipe.
- Elaine’s been invited by a popular food blogger to contribute some of her personal cooking tips to a post he’s writing on kitchen hacks.
Recognition by one’s peers in one’s own lifetime is always a gratifying occasion! Or, as we like to say at home: “Yay!!”
Let the Little Things Count
In and of themselves, these developments are probably not ones we would have identified as short term goals. But once attained, even serendipitously, why not act as if they were? Why not celebrate them for the signs of progress that they are and for the encouragement they offer to keep on heading in what’s looking like the right direction?
One of our podcast guests who states this most eloquently is Nicky Roche. I love this quote from her episode:
We don’t launch a global, corporate company when we launch our own business. We actually launch our own dream. And we launch it small. And it grows and it builds. And as it grows and it builds, so do we.
Another of our guests, Henry Lopez, touches upon this theme when he says,
We set these arbitrary numbered goals, and those are important, of course. We can’t just go through life saying, ”Ah, if I get it done today, it’s okay!” No, we have to have some goals. But… we lose perspective of what it is that we’re doing. We have to stop and say, “You know what? Isn’t it great that I have this opportunity? That I get to do this?” Stopping for a moment and appreciating that is important.
One of my pet affirmations, sourced from Abraham-Hicks, goes like this: Today, no matter where I am going, what I am doing or who I am with, my dominant intention is to see that which I am wanting to see; to look for things that make me feel good.
Feeling good is an act of will and far easier to achieve when you celebrate all of your milestones, great and small, as often as they arise.
Stop waiting on the big wins. Celebrate the small things. Enjoy the journey now.
Photos sourced from Unsplash.com.