When You Can’t Celebrate Your Wins

There were a million reasons I wore a mask, but one of the most selfish was to keep my sense of taste. I am already really sensitive to smells and I knew the universe would not grant me the gift of losing my strange ability to smell that one weird thing 12 feet away. No, if I were to lose something, it would probably be my sense of taste and a whole lot of joy along with it. 

I didn’t grow up loving great food. In fact, in my house the first direction on most meals was “preheat oven to 425 degrees.” There were a lot of vegetables I didn’t know existed and surely didn’t know could taste so good. 

However, one of my first girlfriends changed all of that. She was a foodie and introduced me to 10 course tasting menus, Top Chef restaurants, and the pleasure of a true dining experience. There would be no triple dippers and oven timers in this life. We were eating well. 

It opened my eyes to this whole new world of fine dining and creative bites. Ingredients I had never heard of. It woke up my senses. I went from the freezer section to food snob in a couple of years. I can’t imagine going back to the old menu and masking fresh foods with fillers. 

The idea that COVID would steal this joy? Unacceptable. 

But as much as I avoided getting COVID, in my life I find myself dulling my senses all the time – specifically the one that lets me celebrate the wins. 

Instead of feeling excitement over these big wins, I just feel relieved that I did the thing. No big celebration. No social media posts. Not even a text to a friend. Just a smile followed by a sinking feeling that there’s something else to do. 

Like right now. Three Ears Media is having it’s best year ever and I’m working less than I ever have. I am prioritizing my mental health and beautiful views over everything. I am choosing to live my life now.  

But just sharing that outloud makes me feel panicked, like I’m doing something wrong.  Is it true? Yes. So why can’t I tell anyone? Why can’t I celebrate? 

I know why (thanks to my very wise therapist). Over the years, I dulled my sense of celebration by telling myself I was bragging. I wondered constantly what people would think of me. I had to work hard and not be lazy no matter what. Celebration felt like wasted time.

I know I’m not alone based on your messages after last week’s letter on laziness. It’s typical of talented people to tell ourselves that we can’t celebrate for a million reasons that start at home and get more complicated throughout our careers. We just keep moving. Working harder. Finding the next project. 

That’s a recipe for misery. We have to take time to celebrate little wins. To acknowledge that we are good and doing the right things. It’s the fuel that keeps us going. Keeps us caring. Keeps us available to celebrate other people’s wins, too – whether they’re part of our family or team. 

So this week, we both have homework. I want you to think about your wins, big and small. What feels like it’s worthy of a celebration?  

Make a tasting menu of wins, so to speak. 

I can almost guarantee it will feel and taste pretty damn incredible. 

Weekly Letters

Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. This lesson 100% applies to my political activism as well. I’ve learned to celebrate every small win, including the ones that could be denigrated as not good enough. Progress is progress.

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