During the month of July, I will be celebrating two important milestones: living in the same neighbourhood and being a customer of the same business for 30 years. My mother was right. The older you get, the faster time flies so enjoy every moment. Over the past thirty years, there were times when the days, weeks, months and years seemed to fly by and other times when they seemed to drag on interminably. The fact is that thirty years is a long period of time and, for many people, a lifetime. In these times of change, mobility and instability, staying still in one place and staying loyal to one business for 30 years is quite an achievement and speaks volumes to the stability, abundance and good fortune that I have had over the past 30 years. It also demonstrates how important it is to build and maintain relationships. I often encounter individuals in my neighbourhood as well as the people who work at the business that I deal with who are less than 30 years old. Both my city, neighbourhood and the world of business have changed immeasurably in 30 years. These two milestones made me start to think about the impact of personal and professional milestones and the challenges and opportunities that they present.
We all experience milestones in of our lives, careers and businesses. Often, these milestones come in the form of special birthdays and anniversaries. They may also be years of service/employment or number of clients/customers. Many people experience a year of stress, sadness and self-doubt prior to reaching a birthday that marks the start of a new decade. Others may feel unclear, uncertain and uncomfortable when they reach a career milestone of 5, 10 or more years of service/employment at the same organization. Business owners may feel fragile, fearful and faultless at surpassing a number of loyal clients/customers or growing profits/revenues that are beyond their wildest expectations.
People choose to celebrate personal and professional milestones in different ways. Some will throw parties or take expensive trips to dream destinations to celebrate a personal milestone like a birthday or anniversary. Others choose to mark a milestone in a more low-key manner either alone or surrounded by close family and friends. Professional milestones can include celebrating years of service/employment with the same organization, a departure from an organization due to a retirement, downsizing or taking a new and better role with a different organization or passing the torch from one leader to another in an organization or from one generation to another in a family owned business.
Sometimes, we hope that important life, career and business milestones will just pass us by or that we can selectively forget them. However, as if by magic or coincidence, a person appears or a situation happens in our lives to remind us to make the most of the milestone.
Whether or not you choose to acknowledge and celebrate life, career or business milestones, make the most of them. They are a chance to look back and see how much you have achieved and how far you have progressed, to review the lessons and memories of good and bad times and to look forward with anticipation to the next milestone.