Celebrate good times…

Darren Kanthal
4 min readOct 10, 2023

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🎶 Celllll-uh-brate good times, come on!! 🎶

Kool & The Gang sing it best!

I’m writing this 1 day before my 48th birthday. And I love celebrating! It doesn’t always need to be a huge party or a big event. Just enough to celebrate the very day I entered this world. I mean, without a birthday, I don’t exist.

When I coach my clients or facilitate retreats and workshops, I encourage people to follow the breadcrumbs of their minds. It often starts with something that was said and that reminds you of a time in your life or a person that made a lasting impression, which then takes you back to childhood, and then to the watch your grandfather gave you (or whatever the memory lands on).

In this instance, the breadcrumbs of my mind first went to people who don’t like to celebrate their birthday (for the life of me — I just can’t understand — but I accept), to the idea of celebrating our work accomplishments, to the idea that some people at work specifically ask (or don’t ask) that they are not publicly recognized because they don’t like that type of praise.

Which led me to this writing.

Is it really worth celebrating?

It’s not so much what we choose to celebrate (or not) or how we assess what is celebration-worthy (or not), but rather, how often we overlook the small victories, wins, successes, and progress of our lives.

Often enough, each event on its own can appear small or inconsequential, but added up as a whole, the compounding effect of the masses leads to monumental things!

One of the things we’ve learned in today’s world of leadership is that praise, in its many forms, is a necessity for the most engaged workforce — who, in turn, become the highest performers and producers. It’s rare in my walk of life and work that I find people who LOVE command and control-type leadership where the sole expectation is that you’ll simply do what’s asked of you, no questions asked, and without a thank you nor acknowledgment for a job well done.

I’ve worked with some leaders who feel the sheer fact that you receive a paycheck is thank you enough.

Although I can appreciate the rationale behind that sentiment, I’m also calling bullshit.

  • For the sheer fact you married your spouse — is that reason enough to never tell them you love them?
  • For the sheer fact you’re the parent to your child — is that reason enough to never tell them you love them?
  • For the sheer fact that you own your vehicle — is that reason enough to never maintain it?
  • For the sheer fact you bought your pet — is that reason enough to never pet them?
    I hope that makes the point. If not, let me know, and let’s debate this topic.

Celebrations are important.

Period.

I’m not sure you could possibly convince me otherwise. And if you want to argue this point — why? What could your reason possibly be to not celebrate things?!

A client made a goal to change his morning routine 3 days per workweek. Although he didn’t make 3 days — he made 2. We celebrate the progress!

A client realized she was contributing to finger-pointing, infighting, and a he-said, she-said culture. She assessed her role and contribution to this and changed her approach. We celebrate her willingness to change!

A client was terrified and in tears over a promotion which she felt unprepared for. We uncovered her fears, we cried it out, we embraced the challenge, we determined what she needed to be successful — and she overcame her fear. We celebrate her vulnerability!

Celebrating big and small wins

Here’s a fun example — sometimes when my step-kids went to their dad’s for the weekend, I played Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” after they left the house. Celebrating our freedom!! Yes it was cool to have lesser responsibilities. And yes, that might be a little mean — and also kinda funny. Either way, we celebrated and had a good laugh.

Irrespective of the reason — a birth, a victory, growth, trying something new and falling short — whatever it is, if it made someone discomfortable and they pushed through — it’s worthy of celebrating in my opinion.

From my eyes, the good juju and positivity that comes from showing appreciation and celebrating big and small wins is part of the secret sauce and winning formula. I’m also pretty sure I’ve read this in an article or 200 stating the same.

If you’re not already celebrating people’s successes regularly — I’ve got a challenge for you.

Try it out!

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Darren Kanthal

Darren is a values-driven leadership and career coach who supports mid-career leaders with transformative career action plans and candid coaching conversations.