Celebrate the wins

From the desk of Transporter Editor Reed Hollinshead:

Most of us spend as much time at work, or thinking and preparing for it, as we do at home or in any other pursuit. We routinely talk about or celebrate the little victories at home, and that doesn’t need to change the moment we arrive at work.

I'm not talking about a me-first, self-important attitude. No one needs that. If you think you are the most super-important piece of the ITD machine, an in-depth review of your behavioral style is probably in order. Few things are as cancerous to an organization as granstanders. But there's usually room for a few high fives and fist bumps.

While doing research for the Fallen Workers Memorial, one point was driven home time and time again: celebrate the victories both big and small, because you never know when your number is going to be up.

I read about an engineer who had worked for us for 35 years before retiring. He retired on Dec. 14 and died on Dec. 16. He got two days. TWO DAYS!

Another story involved a maintenance supervisor who’d waited for his crew to report in at the end of the day, then drove himself to the hospital and passed away.

There were dozens of examples of workers who had put in decades of work for the department, decided to move on to some front-porch sittin’, and died just a few months after retirement.

Celebrate the wins doesn't mean you need to continually harp on your accomplishments, either.

A big part of the success of a culture of continuous improvement is appreciation of what is already moving us in the right direction.

About a year ago, we began adding a new item at the beginning of our section's staff meetings – taking the time to celebrate wins and recognize the outstanding efforts we tend to take for granted. True – there is always room for improvement. But rather than jumping right into how we can do it better next time, let’s stop and take a moment to celebrate when things go our way.

Celebrate the wins as they come, because your one big hurrah may never arrive. Life very rarely offers us a plesant, straight line to victory. More often, the universe seems to have other plans for your journey - usually filled with plenty of peaks and valleys.

Knowing that we’re likely to encounter our fair share (more than our fair share, sometimes) of obstacles between here and there, we can’t really afford to wait until we get to the finish line to celebrate.

On the way to bigger ones, the little victories are often the sweetest.

Published 04-12-19