3 Types of Successes People Rarely Stop to Recognize!

Coach and Client at Table in Discussion

Ben Renshaw in his mini-book, The Secrets of Happiness says:

On average by the age of eighteen we will have been praised and encouraged 30,000 times—and most of this... by the time we are three. By contrast we will have been criticised and discouraged over 250,000 times.

Is it any wonder we're so focused on what goes wrong?

For most of us when growing up, our parents and teachers focus on our lowest scores, our mistakes and failures—so that we can 'improve'.

Then, when we make it into the workplace, performance reviews focus on where we're not good enough, what we haven't finished and where we need to do better.

Our society measures our worth and success based on accomplishments (what we finish and do well). Mistakes and failures are to be avoided. And while big successes are celebrated, smaller more personal successes often get dismissed as unimportant or brushed aside as we move onto the next thing...

So what can we do about this?

Well, as coaches we can help undo this trend—by taking time to celebrate success with our clients.

And as part of this process it's also key that we help our clients redefine and reconsider what's worth celebrating! So let's expand from 'traditional' successes like getting a pay-rise or running a marathon to include ANYthing they're proud of. If something feels like an achievement, it should be celebrated—including overcoming challenges in our lives.

Here are 3 Types of Success People Rarely Stop to Recognize

1) Small, yet Concrete Steps taken Towards Larger Goals

We're often so focused on the end-goal, we don't notice the essential smaller steps and achievements we make on the way there.

Examples could include: updating your resume (when your big goal is looking for a new job), holding a garage sale as part of selling your home etc.

  • Ask: What smaller, concrete steps have you taken that have moved you closer to your goals?

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson

2) Unique to YOU Successes

These successes are of personal value, but may not be recognized by others.

These are things that a wider society might not applaud us for, but are nevertheless important to us—achievements of ANY size that are uniquely significant to us.

A personal example is learning to cook meringues. I'd always been afraid I wouldn't be able to make them. Actually they're easy to make (who knew?) but importantly, I proved my inner critic wrong—and it felt like a big success to me!

More Examples: Dealing with a relationship break-up. Standing up to a friend or boss who has been bullying us. Learning a new skill (like using Zoom Breakout Rooms!). Making that phonecall you were dreading...

  • Ask: What are YOU proud of—however irrelevant it may seem or how small it may seem to others?
  • Then ask questions like: What does this mean to you? and What values did you meet?

Don't worry about doing great things… just do little things with great heart. Mother Teresa

3) Our Failures AND Mistakes

Overcoming failures and mistakes must be celebrated.  If we have failed—it is because we risked. And it is only by risking that we make change in our lives. Also consider that when we reject our mistakes and failures we also reject a part of ourselves...

A personal example: I launched "Bite-Sized Life Coaching" with a logo of a tree and an apple with a bite out of it. I realised afterwards that I wanted an owl in the branding AND that I preferred the name "Life Coach on the Go". I rebranded and relaunched the same website, just 2 months later. I learned to follow my intuition next time, and am proud of myself that I had the courage, determination and self-belief to relaunch!

  • Ask: What failures and mistakes have you made and grown from?", "What did you learn?" and, "What are you proud of?"

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. Eleanor Roosevelt

A Final Suggestion

Why not set up a session to help your client celebrate their success—and honour themselves. And remember you're not only celebrating, you're reframing success and failure—and building clients' self-esteem too!

If you liked this article about Celebrating and Success, you may also like:

Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce Kindness.com. She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

Image of Coach and Client in discussion with flask and cup by Dragon Images via Shutterstock


  1. Stephen Kiwilifecoach

    Thank you for this site Packed with great and relevant information which I will slowly work through. Im about to launch my Life Coaching Business this year and there is alot of prep to do. Stephen

    • Emma-Louise

      Glad you like it Stephen! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment - and Good Luck with launching your business! Warmly, EL

  2. Dee Evans

    Hi Emma! A great way to create a habit of celebrating wins and shift our vibrational frequency to a higher level, is to wrap your day with an EODA or End of Day Achievement record. It is also a powerful way to begin a new day by spring boarding from yesterday’s wins.

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Dee! Thank-you for your comment - I like the idea of your EODA! I did something similar for a while and found it helpful. It is a great way to focus on all you HAVE achieved, rather than what you have NOT (which was my habit for a while!). Warmly, Emma-Louise


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.