How a New Year’s Eve Party (in the Summer) Became One of My Biggest Career Accomplishments

We sat around the table discussing staff recognition. My boss, who deeply believes in the value of recognition, wanted us to come up with ideas to celebrate the team. The end of our fundraising year was fast approaching on June 30th and it was on my mind how much everyone had rallied, this year in particular. I had joined the organization 10 months prior and the team had embraced change in a big way. We had accomplished so much together and it seemed fitting to celebrate the year.

At a previous organization, my dear colleague, Jen, and I would spread cheer on the last day of the fundraising year by wishing everyone a “Happy New Year.” I always loved the way we could bring people together by sharing this simple acknowledgment of the year’s efforts.

 What if we could do that on a larger scale incorporating the whole office?

I leaned in to the conversation at the senior staff meeting and suggested a New Year’s Eve party on the last day of the fundraising year. No one knew exactly what I was talking about, but everyone seemed interested to learn more about what I had in mind. After briefly sharing the vision, complete with party hats and streamers, my boss supported me in leading plans for the event.

The next time you find yourself thinking about whether you should share that idea you have been holding back on, here are four things to keep in mind.

1.     Trust Yourself to Pitch Your Big Idea

There is a moment in nearly every meeting where you have to decide whether to speak up or stay quiet. How many times have you been in meetings when you censored yourself? (I know I have.)

Sometimes we can get caught up in worrying if our ideas will be good enough. Or maybe we aren’t comfortable speaking to a large group.

The truth is: The world needs you. If you have something to share with the world, it is your responsibility to do so. Not every idea will be amazing—and that’s okay. If you are willing to bravely share your ideas, you will learn the how and why of what succeeds.

 2.     Follow Through (in an Inclusive Way)

Once you gain support for your idea, you have to follow through with care. Your ability to bring your ideas to fruition will distinguish you in the workplace.

Remember that you don’t have to be the only one to carry the project. Find others who share your energy and values, and allow them to be a part of the plan with you.

In my case, terrific colleagues wholeheartedly adopted the idea and joined the committee. They chose festive snacks, searched the party store for New Year decorations (in June!), and emailed a sparkly invitation to the office. In addition to the party hats and photo booth initially envisioned, the committee hung signs in gold and black letters, created a wall for people to share resolutions, and fashioned a ball drop.

If you involve others, you can develop your idea even better than you imagined!

3.     Take a Moment to Appreciate Your Idea In Action

Most of us get so caught up in achieving the outcomes that we forget to celebrate progress. Take a moment to recognize all you did to get here and enjoy it.

You know those moments in the movies when the camera pans around the room in slow motion? That was me standing in the middle of a room of colleagues who seemed to be truly joyful celebrating with each other.

Then the scene broke momentarily when a colleague came up to me to say, “Years from now, you will be remembered for many things you have done here. This will be one of them.” Of all the kind things people said that day, that will be the one I will hold on my heart.

4.     Be Generous With Credit

In my boss’ New Year’s Eve “toast”, she kindly gave me credit for the idea. In turn, I gave her the credit for making it possible.

If she hadn’t empowered me to run with the project—or hadn’t been committed to making the organization even stronger in the first place, the idea would not have made it past that meeting dialogue. I am fortunate to have a boss who believes in me.

I also recognized the committee who helped bring this all to life. They thoughtfully designed the event beyond what I had anticipated when I suggested it in the staff meeting.

Own your piece of making the magic happen—be sure to accept recognition—and also share the praise with others who supported you.

Research shows that expressing gratitude brings you happiness, too. In addition, recognizing others’ contributions builds trusting relationships and strengthens employee morale.

All of this comes down to remembering that the biggest ideas didn’t all start out that way. Be in a workplace where you can celebrate wins. Find a boss who believes in you for the leader you are and colleagues who multiply the goodness around them. And when you have the little dream – share it in a big way. With confetti. It just may end up being one of your most significant contributions.