Everybody loves a winner! The sports-mad South Africans often associate victory with winning sport games and with physically challenging pursuits like our Comrades Marathon. We’re glued to the screen, following the match, cheering for our favourite team or competitor, and glory be when they get the laurels and step onto the podium! The JC Le Roux pops in the neighbourhood! There is a collective celebration of such mega victories! We chat to neighbours and strangers, we would normally not speak to. It becomes a victory we own – as a nation.
Our world of business also demands heavy-going competition, and the sweat and tears of generating a winning streak, but we don’t own this sphere collectively. Many companies profess, as a kind of corporate value, ‘that we should celebrate our successes’. That: ‘It is a good motivator for our staff.’ But in the chaos of daily work and the pressure to perform, celebrating victories is often the last topic on the ‘to do’ list. Or, if there are award ceremonies, the recognition of a victorious achievement does not always reach the ones who really did the work. Those industrious helpers behind the scenes.
Yet the psychology of how empowering it is to feel a sense of victory is deeply enshrined in each of us.
So let me dig into the ‘V’ of ‘victory’ a little deeper.
Victories are made not only by overcoming our competition – but often in reaching beyond a limitation in ourselves.
Someone I know wanted to help fundraise for one of our PE charities, and decided to become a triathlon athlete. Well, at 30 she didn’t know how to swim and she had to face her fear of swimming, particularly swimming in the ocean. Taking swimming lessons among the kids – she was adamant to persevere. When the ocean mile came up, she thought she was going to die. But she didn’t: she emerged from the waves and felt it was one the greatest personal triumphs she’d ever achieved.
This is an excellent example of a personal victory, one that may just be a private affair and not celebrated by anyone. The personal knowing of what happened, and how one made it happen, may simply be enough.
We tend to recognise big and dramatic victories and overlook the little ones. Forgetting that is often the little ones that pave the way forward and up.
In the world of medical breakthroughs this can be illustrated clearly. Dr Barnard’s first heart transplant surgery was a major victory, one that all South Africans rejoiced and took pride in. It’s such a big event, it cannot be overlooked. But if we check our health scene now, every gesture of good and professional nursing care, every treatment that helps someone cope with illness, and hopefully with recovery, is a kind of ‘tender victory’. Such victories – though they may not be celebrated on a big scale – may hold huge significance for every person involved, not least for the person whose life was saved or whose quality of life was hugely enhanced.
In our mundane world of day-to-day working to promote and build our business, we can really motivate ourselves by becoming more aware of our little victories.
Give yourself a nice pat on the shoulders, when you:
- Stay calm with the horrible customer
- Clinch a sales order or a project
- Don’t clinch the deal after trying everything; feel peace of mind about your business ethic
Jump up and down with any positive feedback for your service or just because a customer told you they like your style.
Jump up and down with every payment that comes in, and cheer ‘yeah’ at the top of your voice. It dissipates in an instant your negative feelings about the long wait for that payment.
Celebrate in style when you:
- Break even again after a dry spell in your overdraft desert
- When SARS pays back your money
- When a nice well-earned profit falls your way
- When you have a few promising referrals up your sleeve
Celebrating in style doesn’t mean blowing your profit at the nearest restaurant! Your staff will appreciate any other form of bonus as much!
The empowering, motivating sense of ‘victory’ is really all about celebrating life.
Our victories fuel our joie-de-vivre, our zest for life.
They make us shout ‘Yes!’
That’s the energy we draw from when taking the challenges of our business by storm!