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Home > A Note from Tonya: The Power of Small

A Note from Tonya: The Power of Small

by | Jun 4, 2022

Alright-let’s start this off by being 100% authentic! Is there anyone who does not connect with this comic?

Has life unfolded just exactly as you thought it would? (If so, I want to know your secret!) We don’t even have to talk about life, by the way. How about today? I start each day with a list of what I need and hope to accomplish, and what I expect to happen. In other words, MY plans-the key word there is MY.

Throughout my Purpose-chosen career, I have been honored to walk alongside families and provide even the littlest of support in the toughest of times. During these times, it can be extremely challenging to find or see the BIG WINS. However, I learned a lesson a long time ago, and began sharing that lesson with the volunteers and teams that I worked with- we must change our mindset! We didn’t get the winning decision from the Judge or Jury, maybe we didn’t get the second diagnosis that we prayed for and yet, what I have been shown time and time again is that everything happens for a reason, and there is a bigger game plan than what we might see in front of us.

We must change our perspective and celebrate each and every victory, even those that seem to be small and of no significance!  Maybe it’s a project you made a little progress on, maybe you just had an “ahead” day that was better than the day before, or maybe you celebrated a family milestone-those are all wins!

Usually, when we map out our plan for our life, or for the day, — we put the finish line checkered flag at the end, and we think, When I get THERE- I’ll celebrate. When I’ve checked every item off the list, only then do I have a victory. It makes perfect sense if you are expecting a nice, straight line to victory. Please again refer to the comic above for another dose of reality and notice the spacing of the red flags-those are your small wins.

The truth is that we know we are going to encounter our fair share (or sometimes more than fair share) of obstacles between here and the finish line, and we cannot wait until we get “there” to celebrate.  Does THERE really exist?

Why are small wins important?

As author John C. Maxwell said, “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”  This includes disciplines in our attitude and perspective. Are we simply overlooking small wins every day because we are too focused on a bigger victory? Have you ever been so caught up in thinking about when something would end that you ruined the moments you were in? Sadly, I know that I have.

I happen to be a fan of the television drama series, This Is Us. It ended last month in, well…dramatic fashion. One of the quotes I took away from the final episode was from the deceased patriarch, Jack.

Try to appreciate the moments. That’s what we’re doing, just collecting these little moments. And we spend the rest of our lives looking back, trying to remember.

These “moments” are our small wins every day; every day has them. You must invest in the small things and understand that you only have the moment you are in. It is only the combination of moments over time that achieve the big things.

Need two BIG reasons to notice and celebrate the little wins and every victory along your journey?

  1. It gives you motivation to keep going.

Small wins (which can translate to BIG memories) are found in every day-I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait for tomorrow!

  1. It makes you feel happy.

Pausing to celebrate any small victory feels good and make you happy. Let’s talk about that word happiness a little more.

According to American Jungian psychoanalyst, and author of seventeen books, Dr. James Hollis-our quest for happiness is not really the focus of our lives.

Instead, we should design our lives around finding meaning and purpose. So, why is happiness mentioned in every single written insight about celebrating small victories?

Hollis adds, “Joy, and happiness, are not goals in themselves, but they are the by-product of those moments when we are doing what is really right for us.”

Friends, Happiness is a by-product! When we are fully engaged in our lives, our confidence runs higher, our actions match our intentions, our love for ourselves grows, and we experience a life lived on Purpose, no matter the straight lines, dips, bumps, and detours along the journey. recently shared a blog from Dagmar Munn, and her reflections on living with ALS, and taking time every week for mini celebrations.

Celebrating for me is taking the time, even just a few minutes, to acknowledge completion and bring closure to the time, energy, and emotion I poured into the project. Often, I simply push back in my chair while taking a deep breath and think, “Ta-da!” OK, I imagine confetti falling all around me, too. My mental celebrations are vital to my self-care.

The point here is that knowing that my life has meaning and purpose helps me cope with the physical limitations of ALS.

Take time to notice all your victories, and when you do, no matter how small, pause for 15-30 seconds and really feel it. Applaud yourself. Congratulate yourself-and most of all, take it all in.

-Tonya Hitschmann, Director of Community Programs


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