An achievement is subjective and can only really be measured by the individual.
So, the effort of getting out of bed each day may be an achievement for some; for others, it may be standing up and courageously saying something out loud in a team meeting, no matter how small the comment; for many of us, maintaining harmony within a difficult relationship, skillfully managing one’s emotions in turbulent circumstances or even writing an article are things we just do or experience on a daily basis – yet do we take stock and celebrate them as real achievements? It’s easy to let these things pass us by and continually fix our gaze to the ‘ultimate’ winning of the pitch, prize or promotion.
The trick is not to compare ourselves with other people; moreover, it is essential not to downplay our efforts or successes we make on a daily basis, but to recognise these moments (no matter how small). Acknowledging these moments will make a huge difference to our sense of self, our inner-confidence and our ability to then serve others as a powerful human being.
So then, how can we recognise our daily achievements?
I will outline two practical things we can do to support this: by turning our appreciation volume up and by setting our own bar (or as regularly practiced in coaching, to realise our own goals).
To set goals that are meaningful and realistic, for both the short and longer term, we must at first have an understanding of our own values that tie in with our higher purpose (as covered in the ‘Meaning’ part of Seligman’s PERMA model). This may take a little time and thought – what is important in our working and personal lives? What things do we really value?
Setting goals fulfil our inner ambitions, give fuel to motivate and provide a sense of clarity to where we want our lives to go in the future. Once the goal is set, we are on the journey: subsequently, every small step towards this goal is the achievements that will eventually propel us to our desired, greater heights.
Remaining positive towards these goals can be a challenge in light of set backs, working with others and confronting the restraints of time, modern technology and busy schedules. At this point, it is helpful to understand Seligman’s other key principles within the PERMA model and know how to cultivate positive emotions, discover what keeps us engaged, find support from having close and authentic relationships and finally to have meaning and purpose to what we do.
Alongside the setting of goals, it is also important to recognise each achievement through mindful appreciation, or as Bryant and Veoff call the “conscious attention to the experience of pleasure.”
This “conscious attention” is taking time to stop and observe, taking notes (perhaps in a gratitude journal) sharing our wins and congratulating ourselves. The more we can do this, the more the state of celebrating our own achievements will become a habit, and we can to smash through the taboo of hiding our achievements for fear of being seen as proud or on top of our game.
So to sum up, an achievement is not just the moment of glory crossing the finish line: it’s taking part in the race. The daily experience of living, loving and sharing what we have to give with the world is something we should continually celebrate – and just imagine a world if we all did.
Bailey & French are a team passionate about creating the simple, positive platforms and practical tools that support people to clarify what they truly want to achieve and then do it. We know everyone is busy at work so make sure our interventions are easy to apply, high impact and often self-facilitating. If you are interested in finding out more about how we work with individuals, teams and whole organisations to be more engaged, successful and positive, we’d love to hear from you.
This article on ‘Achievement’ is one of a sequence based on Martin Seligman’s PERMA model of wellbeing. You can view our previous article on Positive Emotions, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning here.