Go Where You are Celebrated


A few years ago, as the pandemic dragged on and my loneliness intensified, a dear friend wisely told me “Linda, go where you are celebrated.” Not, go find your happy place or go do something that brings you joy. Rather, go where you are celebrated.


This was a profound shift for me and deviated from every personal development book I had read over the years where the focus was on doing what made me happy and finding purposeful work. Rather, she was suggesting that I seek out a tribe of people that recognized my value and honored and rejoiced in it.


It strikes me that I’m not the only one who got this message one way or another over the last couple of years. Mobility is up because of a global pandemic that changed the way we work and helped us put our priorities in check. The motives vary but it’s not just about moving out of dense cities less there is a resurgence of some variation of the Big Bug. Rather because of a new flexibility and transformation in the way business and its number one asset, its talent pool, operates.

As Americans began to use their homes as schools, gyms, and offices, available space became more important and the desire for a larger home was the second most stated reason for making a move. With the wider scope of choice that remote work affords, some began casting their nets wider and moving to other cities, smaller metro areas, and even rural communities citing financial affordability or recovery. Of the 10 states with the highest inbound move percentages, eight are among the 25 least densely populated states in the nation.


Job transfers were one of the reasons that people moved but they were down from 60.1% in 2015 to 34.6% in 2021. With many people quitting unfulfilling jobs in “The Great Resignation”, employers have been willing to dig deep to fill a talent gap by offering large increases in salaries and other compelling benefits. But in many instances, this simply isn’t enough. We have taken a bite out of the apple and there is no going back.

None of those reasons I just mentioned necessarily include the idea that one will be accepted, trusted, supported, acknowledged, and thanked. In this great shift, people are choosing to go where they are celebrated. And who celebrates individuals better than family and friends in terms of emotional dollars? Hardly anybody. Fact is, the largest percentage of people that moved last year chose to be closer to family - biological or chosen.

The pandemic has rewritten our global sense of place and changed our emotional geographies in the process. Individuals are seeking community in friends with the same outdoor or cultural interests. They have moved to states whose laws they agree with in terms of gender and equity or where their political stance is respected. They are looking for people that listen to them and encourage them, liking them for who they are, not who they pretend to be - people who celebrate them for the unique gifts they bring to the world.


Celebration is like watering a plant which thrives with a little attention. It’s a stress reliever and lowers negativity. It’s fun and brings people together for a common cause. It allows us to take our minds off the task at hand and focus on another important task - recognition and appreciation for another.


The focus on culture is big these days but I continually ask my clients if they only view it with an eye toward the collective or do they have an individual component of celebration and recognition in addition to pay and title raises? Have they examined ways to truly celebrate the gifts that individual employees bring to their companies or are they still stuck in the bi-monthly birthday party in the conference room? What are they doing in addition to financially tied benefits to recognize every employee?


I ask the same to you. Have you considered doing something out of the ordinary? Are you in touch and aware of micro achievements not just the big wins? Do you share success stories at staff meetings and internal communications that reflect the true caliber of the human being, not just their impact to the bottom line?

Celebrating gives you and the company the opportunity to make it personal. Given the mindset of the workforce these days, particularly Next Gens, what sets you apart? After all, a business is made up of human beings all seeking the same thing - to be seen, honored, and celebrated. Given that emotional dollars are tipping the skills over greenbacks these days, where will you and your company stack up in your quest to recruit and retain a committed and engaged workforce?


“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” Tom Peters


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All rights reserved – Linda Lattimore