This is one of the most important and most over-looked tools for the solo entrepreneur. (and everyone, really.) Celebrating your small accomplishments is acknowledging your success in small ways on a daily or weekly basis.
Baby steps are so easily discredited. They're so small and minor that we don't value them. And yet, they are undeniably progress. If you try to cross a room by taking the tiniest of steps you WILL get there eventually. And when facing those really challenging must-do's, achieving the objective is the point, not how you get there. How you get there is important, and luckily for us baby steps are usually small enough chunks that they're never unbearably unpleasant.
Baby steps can be a great tool for everyone, but they're especially important for the solo entrepreneur. Here's why:
As a solo entrepreneur, there is no boss to praise you for your work. This is a function you have to create for yourself. And while some creative folks might hire someone to praise them daily, the more practical approach is that we have to do this for ourselves. Baby steps is one way to do this. If you're celebrating the smallest triumphs, then you're getting the sense of accomplishment that everyone needs.
In much the same way, a regular practice of self celebration reduces burn out. Going it alone can be stressful and feel unyielding at times. Appreciating the baby steps you've accomplished can demonstrate your progress, give you a sense of accomplishment and reduce the stress of being an entrepreneur. This will reduce exhaustion, burn out and any desire to throw in the towel.
Finally, celebrating baby steps gives you a sense of satisfaction, which is a large part of why you because an entrepreneur in the first place. You probably became an entrepreneur because you wanted to enjoy your work more. A great way to enjoy your work is to celebrate your accomplishments. Don't you deserve to have a satisfied, celebration filled life?!
For those of us who've not cultivated a practice of celebrating baby steps, it can be a tricky thing to do. Here are some tips on how best to celebrate baby steps:
- develop a daily habit of reflecting on your accomplishments. Internally celebrate them all, no matter how small. Progress was made today or it got done today, and that's something to celebrate.
- start to notice when your internal voice discredits your achievements, small and large. Why would you do this? We deserve to be our own best friends, so be nice to yourself and honor your achievements. Give that critical voice a hug and ask it to take a back seat for a bit.
- on the really difficult days where nothing feels like it got done, celebrate the smallest of steps. Did you wake up? Feed yourself? Look at your emails (even if you didn't reply to any)? GREAT! Your day was more productive than not having done these things. You are keeping care of yourself, or staying aware of communications you're a part of. These are important things and doing them is far better than not doing them!
As the tips above allude to, celebrating baby steps is a practice. As simple as they may seem, it can take a while to cultivate a habit where you notice them and celebrate them. But it's well worth it! Baby steps are an invaluable tool and there's an art to using them well and maximizing their full potential. It will come with time, and the first (baby) step is to get started today!