Celebrating the Wins

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Here’s a key question for all dyslexics, whether they are young students or well into adulthood: are you in the GAP, or are you in the GAIN?

Let me explain.

Picture a piece of paper, with START written at the bottom and IDEAL written at the top. And about a third of the way between them is the word ACHIEVED. When a person focuses on the GAP between what they have achieved and their ideal, they may feel like a failure. They may feel that getting to their goal will take forever—if it is even achievable at all. Frustration, disappointment, and depression can ensue when the only focus is on the GAP.

A photograph of a man wearing a suit, standing on the edge of a rocky cliff or chasm against a cloudy gray background. On the other side of the chasm looms a large red question mark. When focusing on the gap between reality and the ideal, people can be disappointed with their lives and accomplishments. But positivity is a result of celebrating the wins, or seeing how far you've come.

However, when a person focuses on the GAIN they have already made from where they began, motivation is boosted. Confidence goes up. Optimism and actual enjoyment of the process becomes part of the journey.

Dan Sullivan is an entrepreneurial coach with nearly 50 years of experience. His work has touched the lives of many. However, for many years, his coaching was exclusively available to those people who took his coaching classes at Strategic Coach. He was probably not the first coach to observe this tendency in his clients, but he was the first to distill the essence of the power of focus into such an approachable model.

Enter Dr. Benjamin Hardy, author of The GAP and the GAIN, who brought Dan Sullivan’s concept to the masses. His book quotes Sullivan frequently and one such quote invites us all to shift our focus.

The way to measure your progress is backward against where you started, not against your ideal. —Dan Sullivan

Why Celebrating the Wins Matters

Hardy goes on to elaborate: “When you’re in the GAIN, you transform your experiences. In the GAP, you compare your experiences to other people’s, and feel worse off as a result. You don’t take ownership of your experiences, but instead, you distance yourself emotionally from them, which ends up creating debilitating trauma of varying degrees.”

This really resonated with me as a dyslexic. It made me realize that especially as a child and young adult, I was GAPPING myself all over the place, comparing myself negatively to the other students or coworkers and generally feeling like a failure. I rarely saw my progress, but instead, only focused on all the areas in which I was still lacking, always feeling like I was falling short of “everyone else” and their accomplishments.

A boy around eleven years old sits at a desk in a classroom and turns to smile at the camera. Positivity and growth are a result of celebrating the wins, or seeing how far you've come.

As Hardy states, “Your happiness as a person is dependent on what you measure yourself against. The antidote to being in the GAP is to measure yourself by the GAIN. More specifically, you measure your own GAINS, rather than worrying about other people. This is how you become self-determined: You have an internal reference point. You stop measuring yourself against others. You only measure yourself against yourself. You measure the GAIN, not the GAP.”

Whether we are coaching the Inner Critic of our own internal dialog or supporting our children, regularly and consistently celebrating every win, every step of progress, transforms our life’s journey from a tedious slog to a voyage of joy and satisfaction. And that creates the powerful belief that we can and will continue to grow and improve. How about a high five for yourself and those you love today? Enjoy your day, celebrating the wins, and see how much you and your children grow with each passing day.

For a thorough discussion of the social and emotional support children with dyslexia require, read my award-winning book, Raising a Child with Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know, available in softcover, hardcover, eBook, and audio.

Cover of the book Raising a Child with Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know by Don M. Winn

Cardboard Box Adventures picture books are great for shared reading and can help parents establish a strong preliteracy foundation for their children. Check out the CBA Catalog for a full list of award-winning picture books, chapter books, and resources for parents and educators. Visit my Amazon author page for more information.