‘Celebrate success…early and often’ is an inspiring quote from a professional mentor of mine. She used that phrase a lot as we worked together. Claim every success and celebrate them. Rewarding the outcomes I want to achieve means I have to manage myself like I would manage a high performing team. It means I have to pay attention and evaluate things using my 3D’s equation: Discipline, Determination and Detachment. Celebrating success in 3D means I can evaluate and reward my efforts across the year to recognize large and small successes. Discipline and determination might get me through the term, but detachment is a very handy thing for recognizing successes.
Never underestimate detachment. For me, it makes discipline and determination possible. It also makes it possible to identify and celebrate my successes, large and small. Rewarding myself for academic performance before grades arrive might seem premature. With a detached view I can acknowledge that a lot of ‘successes’ contribute to my marks and to my ability to learn from the exam and study experience. While waiting for grades to arrive I find it very helpful to review the year and exams looking for success to celebrate.
I start by asking some questions like how much did I read or what inspired me to study. It is important to ask what I discovered the literature I read, about my writing process, and about how I work. I want to identify what I learned, either the easy way or the hard way, that will help me this year. Celebrating success early and often is really about how I frame answers to those questions. It is an inspiring way to wait on my grades and the Examiners Report. It is also a great management strategy well-known to team leaders and brings wonderful, motivating benefits. Sometimes I need to remind myself to recognize and reward all of my successes.
Success is not the only teacher. Another friend of mine says he learns more from his failures than he ever does from his successes. I mention this to avoid any associations with Pollyannaisms that might be forming in my readers’ minds. Learning what not to do is big success in my book, no pun intended, so I celebrate them too. Celebrating my successes early and often means I want to start forming that unique attitude right now, before I open my marks or hit the books for the new term.
There is more than a touch of irony attached to the phrase ‘early and often.’ It alludes to the famous quote ‘vote early and often.’ Though first credited to John van Buren, noted 19th century wit and scion of American President Martin van Buren, one of its first known uses has literary associations. Richard Henry Dana, Jr., a descendant of Anne Bradstreet, America’s first published poet, used the phrase in some published correspondence. The need for the phrase, and meaning attached to it, grew out of sociopolitical issues surrounding the American Civil War. What does it have to do with celebrating my successes?
Celebrating success can be a bit of a conundrum at times, like my friend’s ironic quote, especially while waiting for my marks to arrive. How do I put last term into perspective, prepare for the upcoming one, and brace myself for the arrival of marks? Celebrating and rewarding my successes is the very best way I can think of to accomplish all three.