Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead” – Nelson Mandela

While living abroad, the Italian community always made the concept very clear:  every time one of us went to Italy, he or she had to return to Germany with typical products and share them with others during the lunch breaks. The joy I experienced during those meals is difficult to describe. However, the phenomenon was not only Italian. I saw Mexicans sharing candies as if these were diamonds, Indians exchanging spices that others had been searching for ages, all producing the same delight to everyone. The food from one’s own land is something to celebrate.

The word celebration, in this context, derives from the Latin festum, that is, a demonstration of joy, a social event, something to be shared. In an even more ancient origin, we find the Greek word festiao, which indicates the action to welcome someone to the fireplace.

Thinking about leadership, it is no different.  Meals are often seen as a “reward” and a convivial moment to celebrate what the team has achieved. Still, I have seen several alternative ways: mountains off-sites, kicker’s matches, personal gifts, thank-you cards, or granting time-off.

To celebrate successes is a healthy habit but often sacrificed in the name of timelines and new results. Leaders that celebrate achievements allow the space for awareness. To set the time on “pause” provides the opportunity to observe what one has accomplished, the progress made, the learnings, the feelings.

It is such a critical moment for a leader, as it opens up space to acknowledge oneself and others and openly share one’s pride. These are the hues that make the team stick together and continue to work with renewed energy. 

Personally, when I take the time to celebrate, I perceive a small but significant difference. It helps me to keep memories and share my joy with my friends and family. I am not a fan of big parties but genuinely enjoy sharing a coffee, tea, a walk, or only a moment with myself, before moving to the next goal.

How can you celebrate today? With whom would you share this moment of joy?