Celebrating Small Wins Helps Get the Big Breakthroughs

“Track your small wins to motivate big accomplishments” – Teresa Amabile

A hero’s journey would see us achieving major accomplishments at work every day; completing strategic projects, realising key milestones, closing large deals, driving record results etc. Imagine that? Unfortunately, it’s pure fantasy for most of us as our day to day reality is quite different. While large breakthroughs happen, they’re typically not an everyday occurrence. That’s why it’s important to not lose sight of the small wins.

Busy people sometimes tell me how they’re too busy to celebrate the small wins. However, that’s a big mistake because it’s the small wins that help keep us motivated in the periods between the big breakthroughs.

In the book The Progress Principle – using small wins to ignite joy, engagement and creativity at work the authors Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer explain how the most important motivator for employees at work is what they refer to “the power of small wins.“ Workers are productive and driven to do their best work when they feel as if they’re making progress each day towards a meaningful goal.

The starting point to celebrating small wins is to first understand what your meaningful work is. Once there’s clarity then it needs to be scheduled and actioned.

Now comes the celebration part. There’s no need for it to be over the top (remember these are small wins not major breakthroughs). Things you could do are:

  • Acknowledge it – could be as simple as a smile or an imagining patting yourself on the back

  • Communicate it – with a colleague, friend or family

  • Reward yourself – maybe a small treat is appropriate

  • Use it as motivation – bottle the feeling of achievement and leverage it to keep going

I’d love to hear what you do to stay motivated and performing at your peak?