Weekly Wins

flying to bangkokI like to pause at the end of every week to intentionally remember and write down my three biggest wins. I call routine practices like these my “joy habits” because they are : 1) repeated behaviors, 2) built into my weekly schedule and 3) they are guaranteed to produce joy.

During my transition into retirement, joy habits like these were critically important as they provide a structure during times when you loose the structure of a workplace. They provide a way to recognize and acknowledge yourself for the new types of (unpaid) work you are engaged in. And they get positive energy consistently flowing during a transitional period where it’s normal to experience self-doubt, confusion, and uncertainty.

This week, my three biggest wins were:

  1. I completed and submitted a short piece of writing for publication. For me, it’s important to keep learning, creating, and supporting others in retirement because I didn’t retire from any of those things! Writing is an important way for me to keep doing all three. And as a bonus, the piece I submitted was an advice column so hopefully it will be helpful to those who read it.
  2. A year ago I was invited to be on the board of an education company. I had never served on a board before, but thought it would be a great learning experience for me, an opportunity to expand my network and a concrete way to support a young CEO. This week we had a successful meeting, I was able to contribute in a meaningful way and it’s deeply satisfying to see the company growing.
  3. We left Friday for a trip to Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal (that’s what delayed me in posting my weekly wins!). I’m considering this a win for many reasons but the biggest one is that being retired means we can travel when we want to instead of having to squeeze our travel in when work schedules allow it. Sitting on the plane today was one of those moments that reminded me how grateful I am to my younger self that I picked up Your Money or Your Life and followed those steps!

The whole point of Friday Wins is to remind myself that no matter what went wrong this week (a lot), I choose how to end it. And choosing to celebrate the wins always generates positive energy and a spirit of gratitude.

But don’t believe me, give it a try and see what happens!

Fridays Are For Wins

For most of my career, I would pause on Fridays to take stock of my week.

Instead of focusing on what I accomplished, I mentally catalogued all the work that didn’t get done, all the things that went wrong, and how much work I still needed to do. Then I would use that negative data to convince myself to work all weekend.

Every Friday afternoon, it was the same process: focus on problems, feel terrible, work longer and harder.

Now that I’m retired, I’ve realized it’s important to turn that end-of-the-week ritual upside down.

I still consider Friday the end of my “work” week (because my weekends are for pure leisure!). But now I end the week by consciously and intentionally focusing on my wins. I ask myself: what went well this week? who did I support? how did I grow and inspire others? and how did I contribute to making the world a better place?

I don’t just think about it, I WRITE DOWN my top three wins. Doing so requires me to mentally review the entire week, but now I’m scanning for positive data. Remembering the positive experiences triggers a wide range of pleasurable emotions (satisfaction, happiness, affection, enthusiasm, love, contentment ,etc…). And it stimulates one of the most powerful energies in the universe: gratitude. I don’t know about you, but when I shift my gaze to focus on what’s working well in my life (instead of what sucked), I can’t help but feel a deep sense of joy.

Now that I’ve started this blog, I’ll keep up this joy habit by posting my wins here every Friday. Feel free to join me by posting yours in the comments section. It’s easy, it feels great, and I love to celebrate other people’s wins!

This week, my three biggest wins are the following:

  1. I had three powerful mentoring conversations with three inspiring leaders that wanted my feedback. I reserve a few hours per week for these types of calls and this week I was so thankful that I set aside this time for those who need it. The leaders I talked with this week are up to big things in the world so it felt like a tremendous honor and pleasure to support them.
  2. I had an awesome date night with my husband! We’ve been in a date night rut so decided to try something different this week. We went to dinner at a restaurant where we had a life-changing mentoring experience 22 years ago. We spent time reflecting on how that one mentoring conversation (where someone made the invisible rules of organizational success visible to us) changed the trajectory of our lives. I’m counting it as a win because we chose to do something different this week and it was so enjoyable! We laughed, we cried, and I ate the biggest dosa I’ve ever seen.
  3. I successfully batched my least favorite “maintenance” into one week for the sake of efficiency! I got my teeth cleaned, had my annual OBGYN exam, got my once-a-year hair cut, held our annual meeting with our financial advisors, AND got an oil change. I’m so glad that I don’t have to think about any of these things for a while and know that they are done.

Ahhhhh…… that feels so good!

It wasn’t a perfect week, but I’m choosing to end it in gratitude for the many things that DID go well!