“Come on now, celebration
Let’s all celebrate and have a good time
We gonna celebrate and have a good time”
~ Kool and the Gang 1980

As most of us return to work this January after the year end holidays, a typical greeting in the UK is, “How did you celebrate New Years?” or “Where did you celebrate your holidays?”  Some of us relate tales of overindulgence, since so much of our western celebrations tend to be accompanied by too much food and drink.

As we start the year, we may have great resolutions to increase exercise or lose weight among other popular choices. Our Whitespace Family Dynamics offering enjoys developing and articulating intentions. This first step, or decision, is necessary to foment any change but as our founder Karren Brooks is fond of saying…”Intentions have no Intelligence.” This means that it is not enough, just to intend something or list a resolution, the intelligence comes with a vision a clear plan that is achievable; add to the mix passion and you’re manifesting the recipe for success, .

For those of us who follow football (soccer) the discussion of celebration has occupied an inordinate amount of sports page columns and fueled an interesting discussion.  The coach of Manchester United, Jose Mourninho, accused the coach and players of their cross town rival Manchester City with disrespectful “over-celebrating” their victory by playing loud music in the dressing room and reverberating all the way to United’s locker room.

When asked for his opinion the coach of Arsenal FC., Arsene Wenger, opined that in his experience the Japanese are the most respectful when victorious, and Sumo wrestlers would never shout or fist pump but hide their glee, rather than embarrass their honourable opponent.  The prohibition or limitation of celebrations have become rules for most sports in order to avoid conflict.

Later the coach of Chelsea FC, Antonio Conte accused Coach Mourinho of amnesia, considering that early in his career he ran all the way down the sideline and slid on his knees in front of, then Man United Coach Alex Ferguson, not to mention various other egregious and antagonistic celebratory gestures over the years.

For our North American readers who have had a plethora of holiday American Football Bowl games, the end-zone celebrations can be intricately choreographed and obviously practiced.  It brings to mind the words of a former college coach and now pundit, Lou Holtz, who admonished his Notre Dame players not to over celebrate by warning them, “When you get to the end zone, look like you have been there before.”

While sports celebrations can become iconic like the “dab” by Usain Bolt and the raised finger of England player, Alan Shearer, the idea of sharing the joy of the win is normal, especially in team sports where your colleagues contributed to the success.  All too often the last player to touch the ball or the puck forgets all of the build up, passing and contributions which led to the score and fails to recognise his teammate’s assistance.

In our Whitespace Sports Dynamics offering we train the ability to celebrate our victories, because we can get “stuck in a win.” The most vulnerable time for athletes to be scored upon is often right after they have had success, while they are mentally turning cartwheels and not ready to concentrate or defend.  This is often observed in Tennis where just after a player wins a set, the momentum can shift and a “break” or loss of serve occurs.

Understanding and truly enjoying ones’ wins is an art and how we celebrate is worth examination. Whitespace methodology includes the gratitude necessary to acknowledge the various steps and teammates who have contributed to ones’ success. While often emotionally charged, our holiday celebrations are a perfect time to exchange presents of gratitude and celebratory salutations. Holiday celebrations can also have a lingering and detrimental effect.  While the smiles and presents and “good times” as described in the famous Kool and the Gang song are wonderful memories, one must take care not to get tied up in the moment. The art of celebration is to enjoy and acknowledge and let go, moving on to, and engaging in, the new moment and indeed, this New Year. As we return to our work and responsibilities the art is to be present and fully engaged with those around us.

We at Whitespace wish you great success, good health and happy celebrations throughout this new year.

(Photo by Giggling Gigi)