Three Cheers for Small Victories!

Everyone talks about and applauds short-term wins. But what aren’t often celebrated are the small victories we make during less than victorious circumstances. Well, it’s time to change that. And to get you started, we’re trading in our slow claps for thunderous cheers, as we celebrate five small victories in need of some fanfare. They are…

1. Making a slightly less shitty decision than the one that was put in front of you. That’s right, polishing a turd. Not surprisingly, when presented to people outside of the decision-making loop, that less shitty option is rarely met with roaring applause. But as anyone who’s polished a turd knows, the effort that goes into negotiating that better option is often herculean. Fun to execute? Never. Still a victory? Absolutely.

2. Saying no (when you’d rather say yes). Being the skunk at the picnic is a tough job, but sometimes you need to turn down a really great project or opportunity because the workload it would put on your team would be both unfair and unsustainable. Timing, as they say, is everything.

3. Being dependable. Everyone likes to cheer for a rock star, but your steady contributors keep the lights on. Celebrate them, and give them the kudos they deserve.

4. Identifying a blind spot. Okay, so no-one is ever going to go around high-fiving each other whilst cheering, “I totally wasn’t qualified to do my job today! Whoop whoop!” But a blind spot identified is always a victory. A blind spot identified that that didn’t result in a crisis? That’s a full-on triumph—as long as you’re never caught by it again.

5. Apologizing properly (and meaning it). By now, we all know that “I’m sorry you feel that way” is not an apology. Words matter, and if they fail you in the moment (which they undoubtedly will sometimes), all is not lost. Despite what social media tells us, you can recover from a fumble. Heartfelt apologies can be made. Relationships can be mended. Lessons can be learned. Just remember: a proper apology involves acknowledgment, accountability, and actions.