I was chatting with one of my girlfriends the other day and I asked her: do you appreciate your wins?
We both began to note how we all too quickly give our successes a quick thumbs up and then it’s back to the hamster wheel of work and worry for the next goal; our wins slowly fade away. But why should these wins fade away? I understand that we can’t pat ourselves on the back for a job well done forever, but undervaluing them doesn’t make sense either.
I don’t believe it is “humility” that drives creatives to undervalue and barely appreciate a win. Humility is defined as a modest or low view of one’s own importance. As creatives, we strive to put our best work out into the world; the best we can create in that moment. If we thought so little of what we created and achieved, perhaps we wouldn’t even give it a chance to succeed; we wouldn’t publish our work for the world to see. So no, I don’t think it is humility that stops us from recognizing and enjoying the success of a project. You can be humble and still celebrate a job well done.
I think perhaps, it is a swell of negative thoughts or unrealistic goals or even high energy that drives us to pass over our little successes without giving them the time to be enjoyed. I’ll give you an example of what I mean:
Recently, I worked on a fun project for a magazine. It didn’t pay a lot but I had creative freedom and could reach a decent audience. I believed in the message of the article and I enjoyed the process. I worked, sketched, tweaked, connected with people, painted. From the beginning email correspondence to the final hand in and invoice, the project was a personal win. Every project is! As soon as it was finished, however, I went right back into my routine of work, work, set goal, work some more.
I didn’t take time to appreciate the success of my most recent project completed. Somehow the inner critic began its work, sending subtle thoughts to my brain to forget what I just accomplished; you’re not good enough, you’re not working hard enough. It took someone else to remind me to stop and take note of what I’d accomplished.
Never forget to appreciate your wins, all of them, big and small.