A Hundred Little Victories

OK, this post is going to be all over the place, but stick with me because there is a theme: a hundred little victories. And a sub-theme: Heather mentally composes blog posts on the treadmill.

Yesterday, I wrote up my mid-year review (not really a review, but that's the common term for it as we used to have an actual mid year "review" and now it's more of a touch base). Our official mid year point is January 1 (based on our fiscal year) but we go through a mid-year review process that is really just a check in on commitments plus a career discussion conversation with your manager. No "score", nothing scary. Just a good check point and time to take stock of the last 6 months. Of course you are looking at stuff that is on-track and stuff that needs more work. But hey, it's mid year so there's still plenty of time to finish off some of those commitments before the end of the fiscal. And it's a great time to focus on your little victories during the first part of the year. It's not just about "you still need to get this done" but also about "yay for me for my successes this year so far". This is what got me thinking about a hundred little victories (and trust me, there ain't anywhere near 100 in my mid year form). It's always a little easier to be self-critical than to celebrate small achievements. We usually don't celebrate until it's over. I'm all for celebrating progress; taking the time to recognize small wins.

This also made me think about James Frey, you know the guy that wrote A Million Little Pieces? The one who is being criticized for fluffing up some parts of his "memoir". First, let me say that this guy goofed up big time. Yeah, there's a difference between "based on a true story" (which I have always taken literally, which, well, I guess you are supposed to do with literature...maybe not) and a memoir. Some of the embellishments, I understand, some, I believe, changed the book from a "memoir" to a "novel". But anyway, I don't excuse his decisions, though I don't think he made them alone. From my perspective, it's pretty clear that he's done something that is wrong. But the part of this whole drama that I found particularly mortifying was his last visit to the Oprah show. Now let me say that I really like Oprah and I know it may be uncool to say that. But I do. But what she did to James Frey was bullying, in my opinion (and I have some experience being on the receiving and since there was a girl in sixth grade that picked on me like it was her job). The problem with James (or really the problem Oprah had with him) is that he made Oprah look bad for having supported him (and some of that support she offered freely after the controversy went public). And for that, he had to pay, publicly. She brought him on her show and lambasted him. I was so disappointed in her approach because she didn't have to do that. It seemed to me that the reason was that she cared what other people thought about her (she stated her change in opinion was based on feedback she got) and, I think, because she felt he reflected badly on her.  As if he needed to be punished in the eye of the public? A simple statement retracting her support would have been fine. But what I got from the show was "you don't cross Oprah", not "lying is bad". Of course my opinion is based on observations...I haven't actually spoken to Oprah (sometimes I just feel I need to say these things though they may be obvious).

I haven't read the book yet, but I plan to. One of my co-workers just started reading it and she and I have been discussing the controversy. She shares my opinion on the Oprah situation and she made a good point. Having read through some of the book, she said that she found the whole Oprah situation even harder to take because if even one-tenth of the book is true, this guy has been through a lot. And this also made me think about a hundred little victories (all the little victories that go into drug abuse recovery) and how important they are relative to one big defeat on the Oprah show. Anyway, no excuses for what he did but please.

Another thing that had made me think about celebrating small victories is my recent entry into a club called "people who work out". Boy do I sure have to celebrate little victories to keep myself motivated, not that I have a lot of experience in the exercise arena, but at least I know what I need to do motivate myself. I need to focus on little victories, which allows me to not feel the big victories would be out of reach.

It also made me think about Dana Reeve, who just passed away from lung cancer. The thing that I remember her for is her unflagging support of her husband after his paralyzing accident, which eventually led to his death. It's easy to think "of course she would support him", but sometimes the right path isn't the easiest, in my perspective (not trying to be all philosophical, just an observation). And there's incredible importance in celebrating a hundred little victories when you choose the tougher path, like a finger twitch.

It would be great if I had some deep words of wisdom on little victories, but really all my thinking on the topic (while treading along on the treadmill), had led me to "don't forget about them".


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