Each night before my children go to bed I ask them what their success of the day is. The idea came from a story I read about the Olympic gymnast, Bart Connor. Turns out 9 months before the 1984 Olympics he tore his bicep muscle. They said he would never make it back in time to compete in the Olympics. But not only did he make it back, he won two gold medals.
When Charlie Jones, the television broadcaster, was interviewing him, he asked Bart how he did it. Bart thanked his parents. Charlie Jones said, “Come on Bart, everyone thanks their parents when they win a gold medal.” Bart told Charlie that this was different. He said, “Every night before bed my parents would ask me what my success was. So I went to bed a success every night of my life. I woke up every morning a success. When I was injured before the Olympics, I knew I was going to make it back because I was a success every day of my life.” Talk about a confidence booster.
Since engaging in this practice with my children I can attest it works. I also know it works because I share this story in my keynotes and hear great stories from people all the time who are doing this with their children.
I also know it works for adults in businesses, schools, and organizations because when we focus on what people are doing right, they do more things right. It’s the simple, powerful message in the classic book The One Minute Manager and it’s an important part of the work I do with organizations.
Teams and organizations that focus on and celebrate success create more success. Success becomes ingrained in the culture and people naturally look for it, focus on it and expect it. That’s why certain football coaches and business leaders are always successful. They implement systems and principles that create a culture that celebrates and expects success and this drives behavior and habits that create successful outcomes.
So how do we put this into practice? The ideas are endless but here are few: If you are in sales have a sales meeting each week (in person or by phone) and share success stories. If you are in management recognize people and their success throughout the year. Not just during annual meetings. Celebrate the small wins as much as the big wins. Celebrate successful projects and implementations. As a leader you’ll want to praise people and reinforce successes that shine a spotlight on important goals and growth initiatives. For your own personal growth, keep a daily and weekly success journal. Write down your success of the day. Do this for 30 days and you’ll see amazing results. What we focus on shows up more in our life. If we look for and celebrate success we’ll see more of it. It works for Olympic athletes, children and us.