As the cabin attendant came toward our seats a thought came unbidden to me. Who is she? What is her story? What are her dreams and aspirations? I tried to picture her at home on Christmas morning, relaxed and surrounded by loved ones, instead of here at 35,000 feet efficiently looking after her passengers.
I pictured her getting accepted to flight attendants school, studying what I suspect is a challenging course from first aid and safety to food service and customer relations. I imagined her celebrating the passing of the course and celebrating securing the job with the airline.
The train of thought led me back to my own career and the celebrations I have had and with whom I shared those celebrations. My first job in an accountant’s office, twelve candidates for the position, I heard later that I was the only one who showed up in a suit. A deciding factor apparently.
I remember the interview process; I was asked to write the numbers 1 – 10 on a piece of paper, (to see if my writing was legible). I couldn’t remember what came after 6. It may have been divine intervention but the accountant interviewing me chose that moment to take a phone call and I had time to collect myself and complete the 7, 8, 9, and 10 required. I am not sure the suit would have helped me if that phone call hadn’t given me the time to collect myself and complete this simple assignment.
Securing that job in a public accountant’s office started me on a life path that was often arduous, seven years of night school university and four days of challenging final exams but also rewarding and filled with celebrations along the way. It’s the celebrations that helped me keep going, they marked my progress and gave little rewards as I journeyed to the big reward, the success of finally becoming a professional accountant. I was in my twenties when I was going through this program, courses, exams, more courses, more exams. Watching others drop out to find other work. I think the idea of rewards along the way was instinctive to me. It helped overcome the grind, the drudgery and the emotional cost of sticking to a goal set far in the future.
Today, after years of experience I understand the value of celebrating the achievements that occur on the journey to a goal and I talk to my clients about that. Big goals are achieved in small pieces; step at a time. Celebrating the success along the way makes the journey manageable for both you and those important people who share the journey with you.