Notes on how to do your creative work and create the life you want.

Yes, Please!

Celebrate Your Way to Success (part 1)

It’s harvest time!

At the end of each growing season, our agricultural ancestors brought in yams or rice, sheaves of wheat and baskets of apples, ears of corn or tomatoes off the vine.

Today, for those of us who don’t farm, the idea of harvest can seem meaningless. And yet, it’s a key to success. Because here’s what harvesting is really about: taking the time to savor, celebrate, and enjoy what you’ve accomplished.

I used to think celebration was a waste of time. Believing it was the best way to improve myself, I almost always focused on what was wrong—and rarely celebrated what was right. Also, as soon as I achieved something, I was on the next step. I thought this was a virtue. “I’m a hard worker, and I have high standards. I’m too good to celebrate that little stuff—I’ll celebrate when I do something that’s really impressive.”

What I didn’t realize was that by failing to celebrate, I was actually holding myself back.

By not celebrating my small accomplishments—and immediately focusing on the next thing to do, I created a life of never feeling satisfied with myself. Of always being short of the goal.

The result? Despite getting into great schools, publishing articles and stories, and creating a life where I could work for half the year and spend the rest of my time writing fiction, staying at artists’ colonies, and traveling to research for my stories… none of my accomplishments ever felt good enough.

This made it hard to stay motivated. I constantly procrastinated to avoid the risk of failure. I often felt dejected, which kept me from going all out for my dreams.

But, in recent years I’ve learned the value of taking time to “enjoy the harvest”—to acknowledge all that I’ve done well and to celebrate all the blessings in my life.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • When I take the time to notice and celebrate all that’s good, I’m often surprised at how much I’ve forgotten to give myself credit for.
  • Celebrating the good moments gives me the “joy reserve” to get through the tough periods.
  • Remembering what I’ve accomplished gives me the courage to keep moving forward.
  • Allowing myself to truly and deeply harvest—to feel the celebration at every level of my body and mind, heart and soul—stops the negative soundtrack in my head and lets me trust that all will be well.

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