Defining moments

Years ago I read this book called The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath which talked about the importance of recognizing and marking moments that matter. This idea has stayed with me over the years as we’ve crossed many a milestone as a family. In particular I’ve learned to be conscious about the way in which we plan for and celebrate moments. So, it should come as no surprise that this week and the days leading up to it have been huge for our family as we’ve marked this occasion with countdowns, dance parties, trips down memory lane through pictures and much more. I’ve always been a journey guy. Defining moments, it’s not just about reaching the destination, but it’s also about remembering and appreciating the trip.

Around this time 8 years ago we were building a house, my wife Samantha was building a baby (London our third daughter) and she was also getting ready to start a new job. Today marks the beginning of a new phase in her career journey. Today we get to realize a goal that we set together as a family. One that began as a dream, and now we’re a household of entrepreneurs! I’m so proud of this woman, the same partner who has stood with me and encouraged me through many of my own professional transitions. Now to get see her take her own leap of faith is inspiring.

When it comes to celebrating and marking milestones like these, there are a few ingredients I’ve practiced over the years. First, you’ve got to decide how you want to mark the occasion. What will you do to honor the significance of the moment? It’s helpful to pre-decide because it leads to a better build up. For example when our girls were younger, after I’d potty trained each of them, they got to go shopping for new big girl underwear to represent the transition from baby to big girl. When they each learned how to ride their bikes, I got them each fancy new bikes. Today my daughter London is set to accomplish a goal of finishing her first three paragraph essay. She was talking about it over breakfast. Guess what’ll be framed afterwards with an accompanying dance party?

Rituals matter too when marking the occasion. As you can tell, nothing celebratory happens in our household without a playlist and a dance party. The key question I began asking myself over the years from the Power of Moments book was, what if we didn’t just remember the defining moments of our lives but made them? To do so, we’ve been intentional about identifying in advance the peaks we want to celebrate, making meaning of the transitions in life (even the ones that seem mundane at the time), and making the celebrations a social occasion (because the best moments are usually with the people we love).

As the Heath brothers write: Defining moments capture us at our best—moments of achievement, moments of courage. Defining moments rewire our understanding of ourselves or the world. Defining moments are social.

That’s a great template to start from. How will you become the author of your next defining moment?


8 years ago… on the precipice of so many dreams.

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