Why we celebrate (besides for the cake)

A decade of commitment to anything is a big deal in our culture—for good reason! A tenth birthday takes a child into double-digits—a time of life that begins the transition from little kid to big kid and eventually into the adult they will become. Ten years of marriage is an accomplishment, marking a decade that has no doubt been filled with a mixture of trials, hard work, growth, dreams and joys. And a decade in business—particularly in the midst of a recession and much change—is well worth celebrating.

But why, exactly, do we mark these milestones? And how should we mark them, learn from them, and move forward? 

On the occasion of izzy+’s tenth birthday, our writer, Kristin Tennant, asks izzy+ founder Chuck Saylor about milestones, reflection, celebration and the future.


– How does it feel to be 10?

It’s a great age to be. When you’re 10, you’re not thinking back on how well you’ve done. You’re just excited about the future—what’s next. That’s definitely how it feels for izzy+.

When you’re 10, the future is still wide open, but it’s beginning to be more defined. At my granddaughters’ tenth birthdays, I saw the emergence of their personalities—their passions, how they think. I could begin to imagine where they’re going, what path they’re on.

– Even though you’re focused on what’s ahead, does reflection still play a part in a milestone like this?

Reflection is so important, but I often wonder why we wait for a milestone—a big wedding anniversary or retirement—before we reflect on our lives. If you wait too long to reflect, for fear of not liking what you will see, you end up on the “safe” side of that equation—you don’t learn or grow. We grow when we’re willing to be wrong and take some risks.

The more we reflect, the more we become OK with the possibility of being wrong. It allows us to learn more, grow and pass it along to others.

– You mentioned passing along what we’ve learned to others. Is that izzy+’s “Better Together” mantra in action?

Yes! That’s the good thing about gathering together to celebrate something—it’s so much more meaningful to reflect with others. Going off into the woods to reflect on my own turns that active verb into more of a noun. There’s a lack of dialogue and conversation. We miss out on those opportunities to share what we’ve learned and make everyone better.

For me, it’s reflecting and learning together that helps create a path for the future—a better understanding and vision for going forward.

– So ultimately, this 10th birthday is more about what’s ahead than what’s already happened.

Exactly. I don’t look back and how small we were and think about how much bigger we are now—that’s so immaterial. I look out over the organization and see a group that’s growing, contributing, taking risks, being open, constructive, kind and creative.

The people at izzy+ are a reflection of where we’ve been, who we are, and where we’re going. And the hopes I have for izzy+ are very connected to the hopes I have for my family and all the people I love: I hope izzy+ continues to grow and create a place where people can be transparent, follow their dreams, add value, and make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

When you look back, there will always be negatives, but I always err on the side of positive. I like to focus on what’s inspiring, meaningful and adds value, and then figure out how to communicate those things, so everyone can be inspired moving forward.