Why NOT celebrating your success undermines your confidence.

Not celebrating success is a habit that many high achievers fall into. As soon as a goal or target is achieved, they move onto the next one (which is probably already half started). They exist in a cycle of continuous striving for excellence, rarely pausing to acknowledge their achievement and celebrate success. 

What happens when we do this? Why is it important to pause and celebrate success? Do I really need to do this?

I find that not celebrating success undermines confidence. Let’s explore this through these 3 questions, see what you can learn about your habits and traits and whether it’s time you started paying more attention to your achievements.  

What happens when we fail to celebrate our success? 

The first and most obvious one to me is you miss out on a toast! And if you’re like me any excuse for a glass of fizz! But on a more serious note, you do miss out. If you’ve achieved a goal or target this means that something has worked, you got something right. You probably worked hard on it and I expect you didn’t achieve it alone, so not only is this about taking time to recognise your own efforts and be grateful that you can make things happen, it’s an opportunity to celebrate with others that have helped and supported you along the way. 

When you DO celebrate success, you send a message to your unconscious mind: I have something to celebrate, I am worthy, I am good enough, I achieved something, I AM. Taking the time to recognise these moments of success helps you to build a bank of achievements to draw upon.

As humans we mark all sorts of occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. We do these for lots of reasons, one of which is they help us to remember. When you recognise your achievements and celebrate success, you’ll be able to remember them more easily and this helps to build confidence in your abilities. If you overlook them, they are marked as not significant. Your unconscious mind will most likely delete or at best distort the memory so it will serve you little use in the future. 

Celebrating your success is also important for perception. When you celebrate your own success, you give permission for others to do the same, you lead by example and send the message that it’s OK to recognise your achievements. Also, only you know what you had to go through to achieve what you did. When you name the achievement people will ask questions “How did you do it?”, “What can I learn from you?” “What was the hardest part?” “How did you know it was all going to work out?” Conversation opens up when you celebrate and this in turn can help to build your visibility. You get to show people the journey you have been on, not just the finished result. 

But maybe that’s part of the problem? Maybe you don’t want people to pay attention to your successes and achievements? Maybe the limelight isn’t a place you feel comfortable? You don’t have to throw a party every time you achieve a goal. Think about the people around you who are important to you? Pick one or two people who you’d feel most comfortable with sharing some success. Start here and pay attention to the benefits you get from giving yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. 

Why is celebrating your success important? 

It’s too easy to undervalue your skills and overlook your strengths. Things that you find easy get labelled as ‘not counting’ or ‘nothing special’. If something doesn’t feel hard or doesn’t take a huge amount of effort, then it’s easy to think of this as not worth celebrating. Does something have to be hard to be worthwhile? Does effort have to equal result? What beliefs do you have attached to your achievement? 

Here’s an example; somebody recently shared with me that they were surprised at the recognition they got for a project they’d just finished. They didn’t think that it was particularly difficult to do, and they felt very uncomfortable with the praise because they didn’t feel that they deserved it. Talking this through this person realised that they believed something had to be hard work for it to be worthy of recognition.   This had a big impact on the way they gave recognition to others and the way that they applied themselves to their career. They would often push themselves to the brink of overwhelm in search for recognition that felt meaningful and they failed to appreciate the recognition they did get for all the work they did along the way. They also didn’t realise that what they found easy, many others were often found hard.  They’d not considered if what they believed about achievement was helpful to them or not. 

When you take the time to recognise your achievements you learn to appreciate your unique strengths and talents. 

Celebrating success is also important for closure. How do you know when something is done or complete? How often do you find yourself revisiting work or projects and tinkering with them? When you celebrate success you mark an ending, you are ready to move onto the next thing. If you leave too many ‘open loops’ you may have trouble deciding how to spend your time. 

So, onto our last question……Do I really need to do this? 

What do you think? Could you benefit from more confidence? Would it serve you to be able to remember your achievements over time? How would you be different if you learnt to appreciate your strengths and talents? Do you have a habit of only sharing a finished result with someone and not ‘taking them on the journey with you?” Would you benefit from creating more conversations with people in your network and learning from their experiences and vice versa? Do you know in your heart of hearts that you overlook your success because you think you’re not deserving of it or haven’t earned it? Are you too busy moving onto the next big thing to stop and take stock of what got you here in the first place? 

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then I suspect you already know the answer. You could continue without celebrating your success but if nothing changes, nothing changes. What change might this ignite in you that leads you onto even greater things? 



The Leaders Guide to Finding Passion and Purpose in your work

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