Celebration is completion and moving forward

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Celebration is completion and moving forward

The Kilimanjaro gathering on Sunday was a tradition we started after we climbed Siguniang in 2015. Fellow trekker, Poh Huat, had introduced us to the Chinese term Qing Gong Yan – ‘celebrate our success banquet’.

After a tough climb, we really felt a celebration was called for. It was wonderful – the sumptuous food, warm fellowship, videos which brought back memories, tongue-in-cheek ‘awards’… so much mirth and merry-making.

Team members turned up early for the celebration. They participated eagerly and, towards the end of the night, no one was in a hurry to go home. In fact, many people hung around to chat long after the desserts were demolished.

Celebration is a great way to complete something. It is about ending on a good and high note. It allows the feel-good emotions to linger longer, to be amplified a bit louder. Tong Mui, my good friend, was not the only one who felt that the celebration was “a nice close to a wonderful adventure!” I realised that, too often, I am moving on to the next thing too quickly. Celebrations allow us to enjoy the good feelings for a bit longer!

A celebration night also allows people to acknowledge each other. A little recognition goes a long way to encourage and lift people. Shared moments and jokes build stronger bonds. Celebrating together strengthens and binds the core group of people and is a great way to bring closer those who are on the fringe. It is definitely a tool to build team spirit! And what a fun tool it is.

The utilitarian among us may think that celebrations are not really necessary as they are a look back to the past. While our celebration was for something which we had already achieved, it was also very much about moving forward. When I can celebrate and feel good about what I have done, I am more inclined to want to move to the next stage. While celebrating the journey to the summit of Kilimanjaro, we were emboldened to explore our next joint adventure.

We could answer the question “What’s next?” with optimism and anticipation, with a strong and brave spirit. Poh Huat spoke for many of us when he said, “I really look forward to climb with this group… no words can describe how much I enjoy it.”

Thus, even those who had sworn off mountain climbing after that tough experience could be persuaded to change their minds during celebration night!

The team’s hearty response to the celebration night got me thinking. Is celebration a good-to-have or a must-have? When I stop to contemplate the benefits of celebration, I think it is a ‘must-do’ item on any expedition or project, especially if I want to go on to greater heights.

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