I may be a misfit & oddly comfortable in my own swiftly-wrinkling skin, yet even I paused before I hit PUBLISH on a post bearing today’s title.
Success is such an odd, debatable word.
One woman’s definition (money, fancy homes, nice cars, unlimited access to high quality beef jerky) may look entirely unlike another’s (lots of free time to pursue passions, enough work to pay for food & shelter, a loving partner and children).
There are, Id imagine, as many different definitions are there are people reading this post.
Additionally, if youre anything like I am, your definition is a fluid one.
My current definition of success is simple: the achievement of something planned and attempted.
The key, for me, is in the attempt.
A success which “fell in my lap” (Let’s say BRAVO TV called & asked me to star with Jackie Warner in a TV show) would be hollow because it’s the planning, working, and succeeding which makes achievement satisfying to me.
No matter what the achievement.
This weekend I received a flurry of emails from fellow bloggers who were feeling unsure of themselves. They asked me for tips on succeeding as a full time writerblogger.
chagrin effusive delight I tossed the question back to them.
I asked their definition of success and to list (for me or just themselves) all the times they’ve succeeded in the past.*
I offered specific tips, but more important, in my experience, is believing you are successful and will continue to be a success.
Believe me, I’ve struggled with this.
I struggled less when life was less hectic (pre-marriage, pre-child, pre-pre-pre), but even then I wrestled with “knowing I could do it.”
My solution was the creation of a success box.
The idea started when I was dating Ren Man. Whenever he’d compliment me (“I loved the article you wrote for Good Life Magazine!”) I’d joke I was “putting it in my pocket” and saving the words to reread later.
Then life grew a bit more hectic. We married. We moved. I opened my training studio.
I realized it wasnt enough to pretend to hold on to compliments—I needed reminders of past successes for moments when I was feeling none too successful.
I began saving everything on my smart-phone.
Kind words emailed from a client? Save.
Complimentary letters on a magazine article I’d written? SAVED.
Texts or voicemails from friends or family simply to tell me I ROCKED? Save Save Save.
The best predictor of future success is past success.
If I ever felt uncertain as I faced an assignment or life-challenge all I had to do to ‘predict my success’ was return to my electronically-stored items.
Then life grew more hectic. We moved again. Our two became THREE (five when you count the canines).
I realized smart-phone saving was no longer enough.
Not only could I potentially lose the information—I craved something tangible.
I longed for successes I could sit with and *touch* as I reminded myself “Ive been successful before. I know how to do this. I *can* do it again.”
I printed & printed & cut & trimmed.
I created the success box pictured at the top of this post and I visit it regularly. Sometimes to add to its contents. Frequently to remind myself, on those days when nothing seems to be “succeeding” (from parenting to freelancing) , I’ve succeeded before and I will again.
The best predictor of future success for me is reflecting and remembering Ive succeeded before.
How do you encourage yourself when doubt starts to creep in? Do you have a success box, journal or other “reminder” you revisit?
Do you savesavesave on the smart phone as I used to?
Are you grateful I did not, as initially planned, close todays comments and command you to git to Success Box creating PRONTO?
*to my shock & delight everyone played along with my mishegas, list-generated & I hope made Success Boxes as promised.