Posted by | CDS


By Dana McConnell, CDS Executive Director

Oprah Winfrey stated beautifully that, “the more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”  This is so true, and we have more milestones to celebrate than we realize.

Early in life, toddlers have key developments like grasping for objects to put in their mouths, pulling up on furniture before taking that first step, or using two to three words to form a sentence. Some children develop these skills effortlessly. Other children, such as those with low muscle tone or speech delays, experience a greater degree of difficulty developing the same skills. Yet, these are still milestones to be celebrated, regardless of how long a child takes to master them.

During adolescence, teenagers tend to favor milestones that are associated with independence, like getting a driver’s license, earning their first paycheck, and graduating from high school. But other developments are just as critical, like maintaining eye contact, the ability to read an audience, and being able to support or counter an argument. These skills help to achieve greater success in college or in the general work force.

As adults, we have our own milestones:  a new job, relocation, marriage, starting a family, taking a promotion, or deciding to retire. These are fairly common life events and deserve their share of the limelight. Other events—those often less obvious to the outside world— could still be critical to our personal development.  Maybe it is an event you were in charge of planning or a presentation in front of peers or clients. It could even be paying off a car loan or achieving another financial goal that took dedication and commitment. These are also moments we should celebrate.

Then there are organizational milestones. Several area manufacturing companies strive for record benchmarks on the number of days without a safety incident, or the number of parts made. Local colleges and universities are recognized for innovative research grants to develop new products or programs. Others might cheer when they land a significant client or government contract. These achievements make our business community stronger and should not be underestimated.

CDS has had its own achievements for 2016. We celebrated our 16th year anniversary with special guests, face painting, and fun activities. We introduced a new service offered, a medical-legal partnership that is available through the combined efforts of GHS, Furman University, and SC Legal Services. We were voted Best in the Upstate for our Outshine tutoring program. We also attained a 4-Star Charity Navigator rating, the highest score given to a non-profit for financial accountability and transparency.

Our upstate is thriving with moments to celebrate, and we should take time to reflect on these accomplishments. One opportunity to do just that is on Tuesday, November 29th at the Greenville Marriott. Ten at the Top will be presenting a “Celebrating Success” forum that recognizes corporate anniversaries (20 years or more) as well as announcing the recipients of Elevate Upstate grants and other regional awards.

Whether you are a child, an adult, or an organization, your milestones are significant. Each success helps to fuel us forward in accepting even greater challenges on the horizon. And since it’s the season for giving thanks, be thankful to those who have helped you accomplish your goals. They deserve to celebrate with you.