Each night before bed as my children were growing up, I'd ask them what
their success of the day was. The idea came from a story I read about
the Olympic gymnast, Bart Connor. Turns out 9 months before the 1984
Olympics he tore his bicep muscle. They said he would never make it back
in time to compete in the Olympics. But not only did he make it back,
he won two gold medals.
When Charlie Jones, the television broadcaster, was interviewing him, he
asked Bart how he did it. Bart thanked his parents. Charlie Jones said,
"Come on Bart, everyone thanks their parents when they win a gold
medal." Bart told Charlie that this was different. He said, "Every night
before bed my parents would ask me what my success was. So I went to
bed a success every night of my life. I woke up every morning a success.
When I was injured before the Olympics, I knew I was going to make it
back because I was a success every day of my life." Talk about a
Since engaging in this practice with my children I can attest it works. I
also know it works because I share this story in my keynotes and hear
great stories from people all the time who are doing this with their
It works for adults in businesses, schools, and organizations too because
when we focus on what people are doing right, they do more things right.
It's the simple, powerful message in the classic book The One Minute Manager and it's an important part of the work I do with organizations.
Teams and organizations that focus on and celebrate success create more
success. Success becomes ingrained in the culture and people naturally
look for it, focus on it and expect it. That's why certain football
coaches and business leaders are always successful. They implement
systems and principles that create a culture that celebrates and expects
success and this drives behavior and habits that create successful
So how do we put this into practice? The ideas are endless but here are
few: If you are in sales have a sales meeting each week (in person or by
phone) and share success stories. If you are in management recognize
people and their success throughout the year. Not just during annual
meetings. Celebrate the small wins as much as the big wins. Celebrate
successful projects and implementations. As a leader you'll want to
praise people and reinforce successes that shine a spotlight on
important goals and growth initiatives. For your own personal growth,
keep a daily and weekly success journal. Write down your success of the
day. Do this for 30 days and you’ll see amazing results.
What we focus on shows up more in our life. If we look for and celebrate the success we’ll see more of it.
It works for Olympic athletes, children and us.