We sometimes develop these habits which we then justify. We say, “the reason for this…” or “My life has been too busy to…”
After I left the Marine Corps, I had been doing this in my life. I had moved back in with my parents. My room quickly devolved into an absolute mess.
My bed was a nest. Piles of paper everywhere. Dirty laundry piled high like thick Amazon undergrowth. I only had little spaces for my tiptoes to navigate through my room.
The mess in my room was a metaphor for the deeper mess in the rest of my life.
It felt like my life was out of control and would never get better. It felt like that I was beyond hope. I was in a rut. And a rut is nothing more than an open-ended grave.
So, on the night of November 12, 2015, I resolved to take my life.
And then I saw an ad from my old college friend, Brendon Burchard. I watched his video. I bought his course.
One of the first things he taught was this: high performers celebrate their wins to generate momentum so they can successfully face their next challenge.
Here’s the key to jump-starting that momentum: there is no such thing as a small victory.
The victory can be anything you want it to be. The trick is to do something and then celebrate it.
I looked around the mess in my room and decided to make my bed.
It seemed ridiculous. It felt like it wouldn’t make a difference. But since I was so willing to take my life, I wanted to be willing to do anything else, no matter how silly it seemed.
I felt a pressure to make my bed Marine Corps style with 8 inches of white exposed, 12 inches of white on top, and a perfect pillow. But I didn’t. I smoothed out my blankets and fluffed my pillow.
And I called that a win.
Then I celebrated.
I found two little spots in my messy room. I kicked out more of my mess and then celebrated.
At the time, I was living with my parents in their mobile home. If you’ve ever been in a mobile home, you know that a fart on one side of the house can be felt on the other side as a 5.0 earthquake.
I slowly raised my arms and gently waved them through the air.
Even now, just as then, I smiled. I smiled from the inside. And the smile turned into a laugh.
The celebration worked.
The celebration worked. It acted as a ladder to get out of my rut.
I found myself saying, “Dammit Brendon.”
I was saying that because what he said to do, had worked. By celebrating this small victory, for the first time in a long, long, long time, I felt joy entering my life.
Feeling happy had felt so complicated. I felt a mix of amazement and frustration that it was so easy. That I could have felt this far earlier in my life.
I used that energy to clean up a stack of magazines. Then I celebrated.
Then I picked up my clothes. And celebrated.
I have been achieving and celebrating ever since then.
There are going to be people who dismiss you. Who disrespect you. Who demean you.
Those people don’t serve you. Their judgment doesn’t serve you. Your judgment doesn’t serve you.
You can take a stand. You can draw a line. You can separate your truth from the stories that others tell about you.
When you get on this trajectory of success, there will be noise from the situations you leave behind.
By defining your goals and celebrating your wins, you can block out that noise and create a unstoppable storm of success.
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