Success feels so wonderful. People misinterpret success to be ‘making it big’ or finally getting there. I’m starting to learn this isn’t the case at all.
Little Successes I’ve Had
I’ve been successful in some things in my life that I’ve dismissed as not being successful things. (Ok, surviving bullying is a huge one but that’s obvious. I’m going to point out the not so obvious.)
- I’ve started and finished two drafts for two different novels
- (And this is more recent) published on my blog regularly for 2 maybe 3 weeks now.
- Every homework assignment ever!
- Waking up each morning
I could go on and on. People are successful every day at little things. We often discount the little things, but they are so important.
Success in Little Things
As I’ve said, success is defined in big and little terms. It’s important for us to notice the little things. This goes into being grateful for what you have. We should all celebrate the little successes we have each day. They are so important.
I was talking with one of my friends today and the topic of writing came up.
“So what have you been doing?” she asked.
“Well… I’ve been publishing daily on my blog.”
“Really? That’s amazing!” (But not as amazing as the feeling of pride I felt. Think I might have puffed out my chest a little but shhhh.) Then she expressed her own desire to write a book and asked how I’d started and finished my short story. (Ok fine maybe I have done a little more but we don’t need to go into it…)
“Well… I just wrote it.” Simplest thing in the world right? Sure sounds that way, doesn’t it?
Then she continued to ask how I’d started it. “I just started writing.”
“Yep… but don’t edit your first draft. It’s important to get your idea down first. You can always edit later.” Then I went on to talk and quote some of the things I knew about it from what I’ve been learning.
After that conversation I was full to bursting. I got it!
What can we learn from this story? Clarity comes with action, as Jeff Goins says. I finally got it when for two years I was floundering when people gave me the “Just Write” tip.
Every time I would go “Yeah, but…” as if there was more to it. I’m learning that this isn’t the case. It’s the little things that make the big difference.
Why we need to act
This is why taking action works. If you’re moving then it’s harder for those voices of doubt and fear to get to you. They’ll catch up to you eventually but they won’t have the same hold on you. If you even stop for a moment they can have you.
It’s the same with running. When you start running you can usually get a pretty good pace at first, like starting a project or trying to create a new habit, but then you get tired or get cramps and want to stop right there. (Haven’t made it past that point myself, with running anyway.)
It’s the point right before your adrenaline kicks in which I’m sure any runner can attest to. If you can push past that one moment then you’ll be able to make it a little longer.
In the Middle
So now you’ve been working on that project and have made it past the initial dread. You’re cruising and then, like a punch in the gut, resistance kicks in.
As a writer, I’ve felt this many times. You get in the middle of writing your book and then suddenly it’s all bad. There’s no way to go on with the story and you’re pretty sure it’s all crap. This is true for any worthwhile endeavor
Most of us, at this point, want to give up and many do. But what if you push past this discomfort? What if you keep doing that activity or working on that project despite the pain?
It’s in these moments when we feel like there’s nothing more to do or no way to go on that we find true courage. Being able to go on when the world is against you is the greatest act of courage I know.
Endure to the end
Everything ends eventually, but getting to the end is hard. You’ve worked on it for x amount of time and in the final stretches you feel like you won’t make it.
Remember that endurance thing we were talking about above with true courage? You’re going to need a lot more here.
Finding the last bit of strength and finishing the race feels like the hardest thing in the world at the moment, but once you cross the finish line the greatest freedom and exhilaration comes over you. Celebrate this moment; you deserve it.(Senioritis solved!)
Now you’ve beat resistance and finished the race or project. But it doesn’t stop there. We constantly need something giving us purpose in our life and need somewhere to go. Now that you’ve overcome one thing try to do more and be more. Sure, it won’t be easy, but it is worth it.
I’d like to challenge you to take the next step with whatever you’re doing, even if it means doing it afraid. You won’t always win the battle but if you stand still, nothing will change. Be courageous, it is the best gift you can offer the world.