Celebrate Milestones

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

There is something unique and special about passing a milestone. Whether it is completing a project or a task or simply taking a new step in a longer process, milestones mean goal achievement. Celebrating milestones is a sure way to boost your personal or team morale.

They don’t have to be that big of a deal. Some may even think that they are insignificant. But when they are celebrated and recognized, something special happens. You receive the pleasure of achievement, the joy of validation, and an encouragement to move to the next item or process step. A Celebrated Milestone may provide you with an opportunity to focus your energy.

Formal

Milestones are embedded in the military acquisition system that I work with. The names have changed over the years, but the purpose of each remains the same. For me, these milestones are the formal decision points, complete with entrance and exit criteria and mandatory documentation. They have lots of people involved and an amazing amount of work to complete. The overall acquisition program identifies itself with its milestone (A, B, or C). Upon hearing that, others can instantly anchor the program in the larger picture. I mention these milestones because, for others who have worked in DoD acquisition and myself, these are the first things we think of when hearing the word “milestone.”

DoD Acquisition Milestones, shown in the chart, are a cause for celebration in a program office.
DoD Acquisition has Milestones in a large process

But there are other milestones you can celebrate!

Fun

Strong Man, a Milestone on our family’s trip

Milestones played an important part in my family’s trips to my parents’ house on holidays. My kids soon learned the things to look for on the journey, and upon seeing them, they had a better understanding of “how much longer?” without having to ask the dreaded question.

For the trip from our house in Southern Maryland to my parents’ house in Central Pennsylvania, they knew that we would have to pass Strong Man first. He was the large statue of a man lifting weights atop the York Barbell building in York, PA. Then, sometime later, we would see the Big Building, a huge white shipping/receiving warehouse, as we got closer to Harrisburg. Then, our final milestone meant that we were less than 20 minutes from Grandma’s house: the Blue Mountains! This was our kids’ name for the east/west running Kittatinny Ridge north of Harrisburg that we would cross on our way to Sherman’s Dale.

You can imagine that the kids always celebrated the trip’s final milestone – arriving at Grandma and Grandpa’s house!

Sneaky

Or maybe they are momentary, fleeting milestones that only receive a short notice and an internal acknowledgment. You can still celebrate them! In fact, they can help remind you of other things that need to be done and decisions to be made. So when my 2013 Toyota Venza rolled over to 100,000 miles, I celebrated by taking it in for maintenance. And I thought back through the years I have had with that car and the places it took me. I took a moment to consider myself blessed to have the vehicle and the freedom to travel. This milestone is a cause for reflection and decision. How much longer will I be able to go in this car, and when should I replace it?

My car’s major Milestone!

Milestones. Look for them – the formal ones that are part of the official process, the fun ones you develop through routine and practice, and the sneaky ones that surprise you. Celebrate Milestones! What are some of the milestones that you have celebrated?

1 thought on “Celebrate Milestones”

  1. Great reminder, Pete! Watching our twin baby granddaughters grow and develop brings up so many memories of when my husband and I raised our own twin daughters, as well as our other three girls. It often feels like watching a reel of movies in the background of whatever we are doing when we are with them. So interesting! And fun! And loaded with those “milestones!” Thanks for helping us remember to celebrate all of our milestones, no matter what they may be.

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