Last time I was here, I wrote about failure. This time, I want to talk about SUCCESS.
First of all, let me ask you, when you experience a “success” in your life, do you usually attribute it to your own skill, tenacity, patience and perseverance?
Do you give yourself credit for the hard work, blood, sweat, tears, time, energy and resources you put into creating a success?
Or, do you write it off as a fluke? A result of good luck, good timing, being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, catching a break that has nothing to do with your own characteristics, skills and values?
I have to admit, I was heavily and solidly in the second category until recently.
A wise person reminded me that... yes, there may have been certain elements of being in the right place at the right time, or taking advantage of knowing the right people or good luck etc. But it was I who took all of those elements and put them together to produce a result.
The common denominator in all of one’s successes, if you really sit back and look at it, is YOU. Many elements may have been at play. Many variables may have been present but the one thing that all your successes had in common was YOU.
YOU made it happen. YOU took all of those pieces and weaved them together into a success. YOU.
So the first thing I want to say is... take credit where credit is due.
Pat yourself on the back once in awhile and say “hey, way to go, you did it! You are AMAZING!”
My second question to you is, what IS success to you? How do you measure it? How do you define it?
Is it a function of how nice a car you drive or how big and lovely a house you have? How many luxury vacations you take each year?
Or perhaps it is having a life partner and children? Maybe it is if your children are successful, aka turn out to be decent human beings, have good paying jobs, life partners and children themselves, etc.
Do you also measure other people’s success this way?
I think it is important that we examine our definition of success for ourselves.
Sometimes, you know, we as humans can have a real tendency to feel “less than” or unsuccessful, especially in this era of social media where it seems like everyone can broadcast their successes and joys to the world.
We must remember that it is usually not the full spectrum of life experiences that get posted on Facebook and Instagram. I don’t usually let the world know when I am having marital troubles or am feeling overwhelmed, discouraged or depressed.
Maybe we SHOULD post that stuff, I don’t know.
What I DO know is that we don’t need to feel “less than” when we see other people’s success. We need to celebrate each other’s successes and feel happy for one another.
We also need to examine what success means to us and move away from the idea of measuring success according to any aforementioned criteria and move away from measuring it by comparing ourselves to others.
Here is my opinion of success.
Success is knowing from where you came and what “stuff” it took for you to get to where you are now.
What did you have to learn, what SKILLS did you have to hone, what FEARS did you have to overcome?
I would like to suggest that success needs to be measured in how we are able to show up in our lives, for ourselves, and for others.
Success needs to be measured in the progress we make within ourselves in working through our personal battles, whatever they may be.
And we all have them.
What may not be visible from the outside to others may be broiling around inside our hearts and minds. Only WE know, and maybe those close to us know too, what our struggles really are.
Only we know, when we rise to our own challenges and most times, these battles are invisible to the world around us.
How our house, our car, our partner, our kids, or our work appears to the world outside, means virtually nothing. We cannot measure our own success by other people’s measuring sticks.
What I am trying to say is that... only we know our own struggles, therefore I think WE get to decide for ourselves, what success is and what it isn’t.
Our definition of success, the one we decide for ourselves, needs to ultimately SERVE us and our highest good.
So celebrate your small wins, as well as your big ones.
Don't sweat the tough places and low spots, they are essential on our paths to learning and growth.
Give credit where credit is due.
Don’t bother comparing yourself to anyone else, it’s a waste of your time.
Define your success on your own terms and feel good about the progress you make. It is probably a LOT more than you give yourself credit for.
Much love and peace to all,