“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Dr. Seuss
When you reach a significant milestone – do you celebrate your success? Do you savour the moment or do you immediately turn your focus to what’s next? Or do you focus on the things you didn’t achieve or the milestones you missed?
Recently we had an opportunity to celebrate my daughter’s graduation from the Rotman Commerce Program at the University of Toronto. Together with family and friends of over 450 graduates who filled Convocation Hall, we waited in anticipation for her to walk across the stage and be recognized for her achievement. As a parent, it is a moment of complete pride and pure joy to share an experience like this with a son or daughter.
University of Toronto’s Chancellor — The Honourable Michael Wilson — concluded the day’s proceedings with these words to the graduates:
“As you proceed to the next chapter of your lives, I offer the following ingredients for success – things I have observed in people I’ve known and worked with over the years:
- First, integrity: If you carry out your responsibilities consistently, to the best of your ability, people will trust you as a colleague, and turn to you for leadership.
- Next, courage: In the face of adversity, and even tragedy, try to remember the reasons for optimism – and never be afraid to ask for help.
- Look after yourself – especially your health, both physical and mental.
- Follow your instincts and curiosity wherever they lead, and broaden your knowledge by reading as much as you can.
- Embrace opportunities to collaborate. It’s the key to our success as a society, and it helps us grow as individuals.
- Be bold and take risks, and don’t let the fear of failure stop you. Failure is a part of life. It’s another way to learn.
- Change is a part of life, too. At times it’s frightening, but we should see it as a chance to explore, and to test our limits.
- Above all, enjoy what you do. Take pleasure and satisfaction in what you achieve. Along with the personal characteristics I’ve mentioned above, this is the key to a happy life.
Whatever your next steps, I invite you to see your studies here as part of a lifetime of learning. And I encourage you to use that learning to leave every situation better than it was when you arrived. You have worked hard. You deserve to be proud of this achievement, and to take this opportunity to celebrate.”
Not only did the Chancellor’s remarks serve as great food for thought for the graduates, but also for those of us sharing in their achievements. And celebrate we did with a day that recognized four years of hard work and perseverance. It was a wonderful way to recognize her success and the conclusion of another stage of life.
Celebrating success is an important part of recognizing the achievement of goals and intentions. It also helps us build our confidence and the confidence of those around us. For example, confidence-building is a big part of horse training. If you don’t have a confident rider, then you won’t have a confident horse. Celebrating successes and recognizing achievements is a great way to build the confidence of both horse and rider for a much stronger partnership. The same is true for individuals and teams.
How do you recognize and reward individual or group success amongst your team members? Here are a few ideas to get you started…treat everyone to lunch or dinner, host a team-building day and support a local charity in the process, present awards or gift vouchers when business goals are reached, share team successes in newsletters or your internal on-line community, or send a personal hand-written note. Or in the case of a horse, you might just give them a kiss on the cheek.
The Mane Intent creates unique learning experiences for individuals, couples, small groups and teams interested in exploring what’s possible in life and work with a little horse power. Programing includes Leading With Intent: Horse-Assisted Coaching for Business Professionals. Book your session today at www.themaneintent.ca