My daughter, along with dozens of other children, recently celebrated their graduation from kindergarten. This was no little party, I mean a full graduation. We had to order a cap and gown, there were tassels, and they walked across the stage to Pomp and Circumstance. The teachers stood up and gave a mini-speech, and it was complete with a slideshow of the students.
It’s worth stopping and noticing three key things about the importance of that moment.
1.) Celebrate accomplishments. Too often as adults, we’re quick to be task oriented and we never really stop to celebrate. We move from one item to the next with a fervor that often leaves us exhausted and close to burnout. The morning of the graduation, our daughter was awake, dressed, and ready to go by 5:45 in the morning. She was so excited that by 7:00 she was begging to go to school and was unhappy that she had another hour to wait. The fact that someone was willing to celebrate her accomplishments meant a lot to her.
We’ve have a lot to learn. Great leaders celebrate accomplishments. The beauty of the coaching relationship is that it happens often. One of the first questions I ask new clients is, “How do you want us to celebrate accomplishments?” It provides a positive energy and excitement when we’re willing to celebrate with others.
2.) Make goals and share them with others. The teacher met with each student at the beginning of the year, assessed where they were at academically, and set goals throughout the year that would push them to grow. The class, as individuals and a group, had goals they wanted to meet. They counted, learned addition and subtraction, started on fractions, read books and studied science. It wasn’t “just for fun”, though if you ask the students they did have fun, it was to meet their goals. They wanted to read a certain number of books by the end of the year. They wanted to be able to count to 1,000. They set goals and you could ask any of them what they were and how it was going.
Great leadership also sets goals and shares that information with others. If you’re company goal is to “grow bigger”, want to guess the one thing you won’t do this year? Grow. Goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Goals answer questions like, What does growth look like? How do we want to grow? and When does it need to be done by?
In coaching, goals are often weekly (though not always). In the relationship, accountability is built in. We set hard dates: when are you going to accomplish this? The purpose isn’t to make your life hard, in fact the opposite is true: it actually makes your life easier. It gives you positive forward momentum to create the life you’ve always wanted.
3.) Surround yourself with visionaries who know the importance of it. Our daughter was excited because others around her (teachers, staff, friends) were there encouraging, supporting, and letter her know it was a big deal. In fact, it wasn’t just her they were encouraging, it was all four classes. Nearly one hundred students walked across that stage with the biggest grins on their faces. They knew this mattered, they knew it was important, they knew this was a big deal.
We’ve got something to learn here too. Yes, we need to celebrate accomplishments, and yes, we need to make and share goals. The final step is to surround yourself with people who also see those goals as important and are willing to support them.
In business, it’s having team in alignment. When clarity, values, and goals are all shared, everyone wins.
In coaching, it’s finding the support team to help you make the changes you want to see. I as your coach will be there, but it’s also helpful to enlist friends, family, a spouse, children, and coworkers. When you’re with a team that believes, champions, and supports your goals and visions, accomplishments come easy.
Where are you at? What are some of your goals you’re trying to reach? How can a community of support help you? Chime in!