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After decades with big brands, I realized how much I love marketing small ones. I'm happiest around a table (even a virtual one) with clients, sharing plans that help them reach the right people. I'm a simplifier and a creator. Also, a lover of cute office supplies.

  • Writer's pictureStacy McPhillips

Celebrating small wins in business with a jar of happiness

As someone that has a win, takes exactly 10 minutes to celebrate and then moves on, I decided that I need to start keeping track of the small wins that happen throughout the year so I can remind myself how they add up.

I started a happy jar. You write down the small wins, the things people say that make you happy, and anything that you want to remember that went well and put it in the jar.

For me to commit to this type of thing, it has to be easy. And this is.

> Pick a jar. Any jar you like. I wanted one that was clear so I could see the cards add up.

> Decide how you'll keep track of the notes. I ordered small cards from Amazon that coordinate with my branding because... well, I'm me. But you could just write them on scrap paper.

At the end of the year (or whatever time frame you like), you have this jar you can look back on to remind your brain how many good things happened.


Celebrating small wins is backed by research. Harvard did a study on small wins and called it the progress principle. Basically making progress in meaningful work is what boosts your motivation and emotions. The more this happens, the more likely you'll be creatively productive for the long term.

Small wins can take place in a variety of forms that are personal to you. These are the types of things I put in my happy jar.

  • Reaching a goal (even a small milestone to a larger goal)

  • Discovering something that's working

  • Compliments

  • Support from a business associate

  • Saving time with a new tool

  • Recognition

Here's my favorite happy note from 2021: A client (who was a little tough to win over) said, "You've really taken us to the next level in social media marketing and laid the groundwork for our continued evolution. We literally wouldn't be where we are without you."

Small wins add up to big wins, after all.


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