Editor’s note: Triangle entrepreneur and thought leader Jes Averhart, CEO of Jes & Co and host of the “Reinvention Road Trip,” is a regular WRAL TechWire contributor who explores topics pertaining to reinvention, especially prompted by the onset of the global pandemic. Her columns appear weekly. This week she discusses why meaningful milestones matter.

Note to readers: WRAL TechWire would like to hear from you about views expressed by our contributors. Please send email to: info@wraltechwire.com.

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Last week we talked about micro-connections, those tiny-yet-potent ways we can connect with the people around us, increasing our sense of belonging and our sense of fulfillment—even on days we interact only with strangers!

Today I’m here to talk about something that takes more effort, but is worth every bit of energy expenditure. Why? Because this is one of the most powerful ways you can deepen your connection with the people around you.

What am I talking about?

The recognition of meaningful milestones.

Photo courtesy of Jes Averhart

If you were tempted to stop reading the second you saw that this was about milestones, you’re exactly the person who needs to read this. Because really, before you can leverage this powerful tool, you have to recognize the fact that milestones matter.

Here’s an example: we just had our three-year business anniversary. You might say, so what? Three years? Well, small business owners put their hearts and souls into their vision. I’m no exception. Passing the three-year mark is significant, seeing as only 50% make it past the five-year mark. We’re well on our way!

Here’s Where the Powerful Part Kicks In

Now, it’s one thing to recognize milestones that matter to you, but it’s a whole different ball game to recognize milestones that matter to someone else. In today’s society, we get tunnel-vision on our own stuff.

When we extend ourselves out of our self-importance and celebrate other people’s meaningful milestones, it can be transformative. People are shocked and awed. They’re confused—like… Why are you celebrating me? Because we just don’t practice this enough. The art of celebrating others is disruptive in a beautiful—and bonding—way.

So Why Am I Thinking About All This?

Because honestly, this artful practice wasn’t really on my radar when I chose to celebrate my company’s three-year anniversary. I mean, I was excited, but the importance of the moment didn’t really hit me until my friends and colleagues gathered together. People showed up with flowers, cards, and even a hand-painted quote from the program (JRuss, you are next level amazing, friend!). My team and I were floored and felt so loved!

I’m telling you all this because it made me realize how incredibly important and powerful the acknowledgement of meaningful milestones can be, and how just a little thought and effort can deepen a connection so very much.

Your Turn

Take a moment to think about the people you interact with on a regular basis.

  1. Scan your horizon for opportunities to celebrate meaningful milestones.

Do any of them have important moments coming up? Perhaps your team is approaching completion of a project? Maybe somebody on your team has contributed in a noteworthy way? Maybe someone in your life has a birthday? Or perhaps your anniversary is approaching?

  1. Take notice of the person or people involved.

What do you know about them? What do they like and dislike? What do you admire? What do you appreciate? What makes them a unique human being?

  1. Now think through a way to recognize the approaching milestone.

Naturally, personal relationships merit different types of effort than professional, but all are important. How can you make this celebration appropriate, yet special?

As you head into the rest of your summer, I hope you find ways to deepen your connections with the people in your life. And as always, you’re invited to join us over at Campfire Circles, where our Travelers gather. See you there!