For decades I never experienced a sun rise. Then I started doing overnight passages on sailboats. During the night, finding landmarks, tracking other boats, especially freighter traffic, and managing sails in the dark are a huge challenge. When day breaks all of your problems seem to disappear. Huge freighters that seemed to loom on the radar suddenly look far away in the light of day. Keeping sail trim becomes a joy. On passage, the start of a new day is a big win.
We all have experiences where we suddenly realize that we have gratitude for what we have achieved. In a business context, we tend to get so wrapped up in our day to day fire fighting, that we never pause to acknowledge gratitude for what is working. Just like being on passage on a sailboat at night feels like one challenge after another, we need to find the equivalent of sunrise and daylight to have gratitude for what we have overcome.
To set the tone, be energized, and to have gratitude I focus on the wins.
- What is working?
- What did you achieve?
- What challenges did you overcome?
I start every week by writing down my list of personal and professional wins. With a few minutes reflection I am always amazed at how much is going right in my life. Where moments before I was mired in the week’s challenges, having acknowledged my wins, I am energized and in a completely different frame of mind to write down my weekly to do list.
When working with teams, I insist that weekly planning meetings start with the same format — wins. I get everyone to email their list of wins before the meeting. At the start of the meeting, I get every individual to provide 1-2 of their top wins from the previous week. The immediate challenges become right sized once you start from a position of success.
Because I do my best work when collaborating with others, sharing my list of wins also means that I get to express gratitude to those individuals who helped me achieve those wins. Focusing on the positive and giving thanks always sets me up to tackle those inevitable challenges which lie ahead.
What wins have you had today?