I’m starting to realize success isn’t a destination. For a long time I have equated success with achieving certain goals. Lately, I am realising success is a journey, moreso than a destination. Circumstances are second to attitude.
We all face hard times. We all face setbacks. Success is the way we handle those setbacks. Do we let them hold us back? Do we choose to learn, even from our own failures? If we fall, and mess up, do we allow our failure to discourage us or do we take it as an opportunity to learn and grow and get back up?
There are times when circumstances, people and maybe even our own minds, tell us we can’t do something. The odds are against us. Yet, there is an inner flame that quietly flickers – “you can do it”. Success is choosing to feed that flame.
Success when nobody believes in you
I read an article about famous celebrities who were rejected. Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star and told he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Elvis was told by a concert hall manager at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry to return to driving trucks! If you start digging into people’s stories, so many of today’s beloved classics wouldn’t exist if their authors hadn’t persisted despite continual rejection; Nicholas Sparks, Beatrix Potter, Agatha Christie, John Grisham amongst many, many others.
Stories of success against all odds always encourage me. One day, I was sharing a story about a certain businessman who had achieved great success despite obstacle after obstacle. My friend looked me square in the eye and said, “Those stories are all about men, Naomi. Never women. Never moms.” In essence, “Stop dreaming”
Success of a Single Mom
Though I have never read the cult classic, Harry Potter, I am inspired by J.K. Rowling. She wrote Harry Potter during an incredibly difficult season – she had divorced her husband, faced financial struggles and uncertainty as a single mom, her own mother passed away, and then she had the manuscript rejected multiple times. Her success speaks for itself. And no, she is not a man. And yes, she is a mom.
There are no limitations to dreams, but they do require hard work and dedication. Difficult times can, and most likely will, come. But I am realising that difficult times are not necessarily bad. So many people I admire – like Oprah, and Elizabeth Gilbert – not only passed through difficult times but used them to embolden their own creativity and passions. In my own life, difficult times cause me to become contemplative. I think about who I am, who I want to be, what gaps exist between the two and how to remedy them. Things I would never think about if life were all roses and butterflies. And it’s made me a better person.
Running with Multiple Sclerosis
Kayla, the girl in this video, has multiple sclerosis. When her body temperature rises, she loses feeling in her legs. She found a passion in running, despite the fact that she can’t feel her legs when she runs. Because she has no feeling in her legs, she cannot control her legs in order to stop running, and so, ends each race by collapsing into the waiting arms of her coach. If you have a few minutes, watch this incredibly inspiring video:
Kayla won the race, but really, even if she didn’t come in first, her success was in running despite her sickness. And then, when she fell, to get back up. Success is in the running. Placing first was a nice bi-product.
Success is how you run the race.