Are you Feeling the Joy of your Dream?

taking time to celebrate the wins

At Impactivity, we often talk about getting things done, about pursuing your God-given Dream, about accomplishing amazing things. We talk about being driven by joy rather than being driven by goals or deadlines. And we talk about designing strategies for making all of this Dream-stuff happen.

But something insidious can happen when we do the critical work of looking ahead, planning, and mapping out strategies…

our plans turn into goals, and then stressful deadlines get attached.

### When can I celebrate?

These plans—>goals—>deadlines begin to stress us out, and we start to feel we need to hit these deadlines to feel worthy of celebration. We get really intense.

But for those of us with big Dreams, and therefore big goals, these deadlines are often hard to meet. So when do we ever get around to celebrating what we’ve accomplished?

Perhaps there’s a better way. Instead of looking ahead, seeing a deadline, and determining to only feel great if we hit it, what if we looked back instead, and celebrated what we did get done?

What if we evaluated not what we did in comparison to what we wanted to do, but instead simply looked back at what was accomplished and celebrated the reality?

Looking back also allows us to see growth and change, in a way that can’t be anticipated as we plan. Those important changes might be something we'd never think to celebrate if we don’t take the time to do it intentionally.

While it’s important to plan, being aware of how our plans make us feel is part of this process. If our plans are creating stress rather than joy, we should stop and think about why.

### Do I really deserve it?

Stopping to celebrate doesn’t happen easily. Often we finish one task or project, and we’re immediately onto the next. But we need to take the time to say, “What did I just do? What was I able to accomplish here?”

Without that pause, we continue in a cycle of work and progress, perhaps feeling like we’re always working, but never getting anywhere.

And we miss out on the joy.

Many of us are “type A” driven people, which we often make sound like a negative. Being driven is good, but we need to be driven by the right things—by the joy that our work brings us. Not be fear, other people’s opinions, or tight deadlines. The joy should be the motivation that is pushing us from behind.

### Without a deadline, what am I celebrating?

The downside of goals with deadlines is that they stress us out, and since we often fail to hit them, we often feel lousy about ourselves. But the upside of deadlines is that when we do meet those deadlines, we feel good about ourselves, and have something to celebrate.

So if we never create these milestones to “earn” our celebration, we’re in danger of never feeling that sense of satisfaction that comes with hitting one, right?

We must consciously figure out how to celebrate. We must make an intentional decision to look back and recognize the wins, instead of simply jumping to the next thing.

Often because growth happen slowly, we don’t even recognize how far we’ve come, how much we’ve changed. We must look back.

looking back for two reasons

It makes sense to look back to analyze our performance and figure out how we can do better. It’s a necessary part of reviewing our life. We want to see where we went wrong, but also notice where we went right--so we can repeat it.

But let’s not allow the subtle creep of productivity-living (as opposed to Impactivity-living) to blind us to the other reason for looking back. It’s not all about using the information to work better, faster, harder in the future. It’s also about celebrating.

Find a way to do some kind of revising process that allows you to look back. Maybe it’s a journal, maybe just a checklist or jotting down a Done list at the end of the day instead of (or in addition to) a To Do

list at the start.

### Celebrating more than the work

We talk so much in Impactivity about Igniting, about getting the work done, that it’s easy to think these moments of celebration are only about our work. But it’s important to celebrate our times of Recharging and Connecting as well — those times that we grew in areas of stepping back from overwork, or took time to connect to people on a deeper level. This growth should also be recognized and celebrated.

Finding joy as we pursue our God-given dream is part of living a life of Impactivity. God has created us for a purpose and uniquely qualified and gifted us for something. Being in the center of that place, and recognizing those times when we’ve been there, is part of living the life of joy God has for us.

Joy is not necessarily an absence of suffering or success. It’s knowing that we are right where we’re supposed to be.

### Take time to notice your progress

So what are some ways we can celebrate our growth and our progress?

Gratitude is one path into celebration. Does “taking time to be grateful every day” seem unproductive? Maybe even like a waste of time? Realize the importance of it, of doing tangible things to measure small wins that add up.

Try one of these ideas to measure and celebrate:

  • Put a notebook beside your bed and jot a few notes about the wins of the day before going to sleep

  • Ask others where they see growth and change in you

  • Set a reminder for some part of the day, to make notes or at least think about what you’ve achieved that day

  • Create regular times of review—on a weekly basis at least—to look back at what was done, how you grew, and feel good about all of it

We must make the choice to celebrate rather than only analyze and criticize . There is always room for improvement, so if we’re waiting until we achieve the perfect day or cross off the entire list before we feel worthy of celebrating, we’re going to be waiting forever.

Finding joy in the Dream we’re pursuing happens when we take time to celebrate how far we’ve come.

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Look backward and forward each week to celebrate, plan and course-correct.

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