We're slowing down for summer around here, but that doesn't mean everything comes to a screeching halt. It just means that instead of rushing around and trying to accomplish ten thousand things, we're moving at a slower, more intentional pace so we can savor the season and all that it has to offer because we don't want to miss it!
As we're slowing down, we're noticing things. We're seeing with renewed sight and refreshed perspective. We're gaining clarity of purpose and vision as we choose how we want to show up and what we want to invest in.
One thing that I want to personally invest in is being what I call a champion of the small things. That means noticing, savoring, and celebrating small graces, gifts, and gains. Doesn't that just sound like a fabulously intentional, simple, and joyful way to live?
So what does it actually look like to be a champion of the small things? It's one thing to say it, but it's another thing to do it.
1. IT BEGINS WITH NOTICING.
We can't notice what we don't slow down enough or pay enough attention to see. When we're rushing through life at breakneck speed, we miss out on the things around us.
When we're rushing, we're apt to miss out on things like beautiful sunsets, gorgeous flowers, budding garden plants, the smiles on the faces around us, a kind word, a door held open, and even intricate spider webs (I don't like spiders, but I have to admit they're so creative!).
I don't want to miss those things, and I don't think you do, either. When I'm having a stressful or not-so-great day, those simple things are what bring me back to life again. It's not the mountaintop high of a vacation or business win, but it's the simple joy of spending time with the people I love or listening to my current favorite song that brings me back. And the extra beauty in that is the fact that those everyday joys are far more accessible-- they're right at my fingertips. All I have to do is slow down enough to notice them.
2. IT REQUIRES THAT WE SAVOR THINGS.
Our lives won't be changed much if we notice the world around us and the season we're in without taking the opportunity to savor them.
This world, and our lives in particular, are filled to overflowing with blessings, and we all too often rush right past them. We would be much richer if we paused long enough to not only see them, but to soak them in and cherish them.
Have you noticed how many people post up-close photos of everyday, ordinary things? Do you know why that's so compelling? It's because they have a way of capturing things we see every day in a new way, a way that catches our attention because it demands that we slow down enough to realize those things have been around us the whole time, just waiting for us to pay attention and enjoy them.
I want to be the kind of person who relishes in a slow morning, a good cup of tea, a well-written book, or a good song without rushing onto the next thing right away. I can spare a few minutes just to be, to relax, to cherish the moment and everything it brings before moving forward. And I know my day will be better for it because I took a moment to breathe and savor the world around me.
Life is constantly changing, and if I don't embrace everything this season has to offer with arms open wide, it will be gone before I know it. I don't want to miss it, so I'm choosing to slow down and savor it while it's here.
3. IT MEANS CELEBRATING ALONG THE WAY.
Life happens in the little moments, that's true. It's the regular, daily things that become habits and make up our lives. We can choose whether to get lost in the mundane activities or celebrate the small, everyday choices, wins, and gifts all around us. (I'm choosing and advocating for the latter!)
I'm celebrating the small steps toward growing my business.
I'm celebrating the small steps toward growing stronger as I work out.
I'm celebrating the relationships I'm gaining as I put myself out there and work on networking and building community.
I'm celebrating each benchmark of new followers, subscribers, and friends as I work toward broadening my reach so I can encourage more women.
I'm celebrating each healthy choice as I pause long enough to pay more attention to what my body needs instead of just acting on impulse.
I'm celebrating the days when I actually sit down to start work on time.
I'm celebrating each book I finish as I work toward my annual goal.
Choosing to focus on celebrating keeps me focusing on the positive and reminds me that each step forward is an important one, and each accomplishment is worth noting. It also reminds me that I am the kind of person who _______ (e.g. makes healthy choices, works toward getting stronger, and grows her network), because I'm consistently doing those things and celebrating each of them, reinforcing my decisions going forward. It makes it easier to be faithful to my goals and keep taking steps forward when I've celebrated the steps I've taken so far.
4. IT'S GRATITUDE FOR SMALL GRACES.
It's easy to be grateful for the big things and the good times in our lives. But what about the times of life that fit squarely between those good times?
Life's too hard and messy to not go through it with gratitude and joy. If we focus on what's challenging or not going our way, we're just simply going to be discouraged.
If, on the other hand, we focus on the good things that exist smack-dab in the middle of the hard things, we'll gain perspective and be able to hold onto joy no matter what we're facing.
It's so easy to be negative, but I have started challenging myself to see things in a positive light because I find that it makes my life more enjoyable, and it makes me more enjoyable to be around. Nobody likes being around someone who's negative all the time, especially if they're constantly griping and spreading their negativity. Instead, I've begun looking for the bright side or a little bit of grace in the grit-- the blessing of a flexible schedule in the midst of a nasty virus that would've kept me out of office work, canceled family plans making way for last-minute plans with friends or time to catch up on much-needed sleep.
Sometimes it's hard to find the little joys and moments of grace in the midst of hard times, but I believe there is always something to be thankful for. I just might have to occasionally look a little harder for it.
5. IT'S APPRECIATION FOR SMALL GIFTS.
I'm not a gifts person, per se, but I do appreciate them and love the heart behind them. I recently got a beautiful bouquet of flowers after having battled a nasty virus, and it was such a sweet, thoughtful gift!
Gifts don't negate the tougher parts of life, but they can make life sweeter. And they don't have to be big, flashy, or expensive, either.
People give gifts in different ways and have their own preferences for the types of gifts they'd like to receive. I think it's a great deal of fun to figure out how my people best receive love and lean into that. My tendency is to use words to communicate how I feel, but I know some people prefer having things done for them (dishes washed, a favor done, a helping hand) or just spending time with people.
I love it when people use their words to affirm and support me, and I've had a few amazing conversations with different friends over the last few weeks that have ended with me walking away with a big smile on my face. My people just have a way of naming things that I'm unable to see in myself, and when they encourage and commend me, I'm filled with joy and motivation to keep going. It truly brightens my day and makes me feel like I can conquer the world.
I also appreciate it when friends come over to make dinner and help with the dishes or clearing the table. Or if they brainstorm business ideas with me. Or if they engage with my social media content. When my people do things for me, it matters. In becoming a champion of the small things, I'm taking notice of and practicing gratitude for each and every action that supports and encourages me, no matter how small, because they all add up and make a big difference!
6. IT'S THANKFULNESS FOR SMALL GAINS.
Too often we don't let ourselves get excited until we reach our finish line. But what does that say about each step we take along the way? It says that those steps aren't important; only the last one really counts.
I don't want to believe that or live like that. Sometimes the road toward a goal can be long and hard, and the only way I know to make it easier and to motivate myself to keep going is to be grateful for each step I take in the right direction, no matter how small.
It goes back to number 3, celebrating along the way. I wouldn't still be here, doing this, if I didn't celebrate small wins along the way. Even though I'm not yet where I want to be (who is?), I can be grateful and proud of how far I've already come. And taking the time to appreciate that gives me the momentum I need to keep going forward, especially when it's hard.
Being a champion of small things also means being a champion of small steps. It doesn't matter how many more steps there are ahead, each one we take is a big deal because it still took effort and some amount of risk. It's still forward movement, and that's what counts.
So let's choose to celebrate each step, along with each gift and grace, as we go, slowing down enough to notice, savor, and celebrate the small things that make up our lives.
That's it! Now may we all go forward for the rest of this summer and beyond to be champions of the small things in our lives!
I'd love to chat with you about what it looks like for YOU to be a champion of small things in your life (and other goals you have for your life!). Let's chat!