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Do you know how to celebrate your birthday?

Do you know how to celebrate your birthday?


So… this month is my birthday. And it has been…. For a few years

Each year, we celebrate the passing of one more year. One more year that we’ve lived 525,600 minutes (thank you, Rent), drank milk, ate our lunch, worked, had some fun, worked some more, thought about vacation, had some fun, and a few other things.

What about the other things? The peaks and the valleys, the highs and the lows? The breakups and the successes, the OMG and the Holy $#%^? The new friends and the near misses?

How do you celebrate your birthday?

For me, a birthday is a celebration. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what’s going on in your life. It’s a time for others to celebrate YOU. Whether Facebook or their iPhone tell your friends, family and colleagues that it’s your special day, or if they just plain old fashioned remembered – it’s a time to celebrate you.  You get taken out to dinner. You receive a gift, maybe even have a Chucky Cheese party (if you’re that kind of person) – all for you. People tell you “Happy Birthday”, and you say “Thank you”. You may even hear from friends you haven’t heard in a while, to see how you are.

For one day, it’s all about you. And making YOU feel special.

Which leads me to the question – do you know how to celebrate your people’s “birthdays”?

I’m not just talking about cake and flowers, and maybe a bottle of wine if you’re a REALLY nice boss. I’m talking about the celebration part. The “thank you for doing a great job” part. The “today, you should be special, because you did this” part.  The “I don’t even know what kind of sacrifice you made to get this done, but I recognize it, and I thank you for it”.

Get my drift?

Celebrate successes. Make them feel special. Even little baby successes – like learning how to complete that first power point without correction by the VP –  that may not seem much to you. THANK your people. It’s the basis of TWO of the 3 pillars of NOT having a miserable job – Anonymity AND Immeasurability (Lencioni, 2007), so obviously if you’re not doing it, then I won’t even charge you for the guidance and tell you that your people probably think you suck a little bit (ok, giving it to you straight, probably a lot).

And you’ve probably already seen this coming … why stop at birthdays?

For the people that work for you, day in and day out – that get it done every day – CELEBRATE successes. Finish a project that was 90% great, but 10% needs improvement? DO NOT only focus on the improvements (and yes, I’m honest, I still struggle with this!). Sing Happy Birthday to those that made it great (aka “make them feel special and appreciated”) and then the next day (when it’s NOT their “birthday”) tackle the 10% and raise the mark.

Try it. It won’t hurt. It may feel a little funny at first, but your people will like it.

Have your own way you celebrate “birthdays”? Share them with me – would love to hear them. (As long as you’ve said it to your team first!)


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