Throw a Party


I’ve always struggled in math. Numbers and I…we’re not a good combo. By the sixth grade, I found myself in remedial math. In other words, I wasn’t progressing like the other students. A person was defined as “remedial” by the workbook they were most capable of working through.

I was given the yellow workbook, while 90 percent of my classmates effortlessly worked their way through the green workbook. There I was, a full three workbooks behind the class.

My struggle with math was shared by three other kids in my class. We all seemed incapable of figuring out that if a train left Philadelphia at 12:19 PM, traveling at 518 MPH, and it passes a car doing 65 MPH, while going west…then how many apples does little Johnny have?

I hated those questions. Even so, they forced me to keep working…and I did. I worked hard…very hard.

Then, one day, Mr. Gilbeaux, my sixth grade teacher, came to me and said, “Congratulations, Brian, you’ve advanced to the green workbook. You’re just one workbook away from being with the rest of the team!”

I couldn’t wait to tell Dad. For some reason, Dad picked me up from school that day. We were driving by a golf course and I said, “Dad, guess who got promoted from the yellow math workbook to the green math workbook?”

Dad paused for a moment and replied, “I bet it was that Chambers boy.”

Full of joy and pride I exclaimed, “It was me!”

Dad celebrated me. He bragged on me. He even went by the store and got us both a Fanta Red soda. That was a big deal in our house!

Here’s the lesson: leaders celebrate others.

Allow the team to bring you the news. Give them the opportunity to tell you all about it. From there, celebrate the accomplishment. Your people need to know that you are proud of them–and not just in a generic sense, but in a specific one.

Tell them why you’re celebrating and throw a party! Do it not only because of what they accomplished, but also as a way to pause and recognize their gifts, skills, and contributions. People need to know their efforts are noticed and that they have made a difference.

Be like Dad. Throw a party, even if it’s spontaneous and comes with a bottle of Big Red soda and a honey bun.

Do that and you’ll be on the path to leadership endurance.


– Brian Sanders