1. The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
2. The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like
3. A performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors: The play was an instant success
4. A person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc: She was a great success on the talk show.
According to dictionary.com, we achieve success when we reach our desired goals and outcomes. It’s successful when other’s recognize and appreciate what we have done.
But, many times, we don’t achieve the desired outcome. Or the end doesn’t even seem near, let alone attainable. The things we do on a daily basis that we really want to succeed with, are bigger than we are; and it’s not about reaching the end.
Guess what, when we sound out the word “success”, the first syllable sounds like “suck”.
And you know what, almost 99% of the time, we have to suck before we can succeed.
Why is that?
Well, before we can truly succeed at something, we need to find the path that works to get us there. Every goal we aim to achieve is surrounded by a maze of directions, so many of which are dead ends.
- Should we go left when she should have gone right?
- Should we have chosen job X over job Y?
- Should we stay home to take care of the kids?
- Should we have gotten married at that age?
Every decision we make is a direction we take. If we reach a dead end, does that mean we didn’t succeed?
Personally, I don’t think so. Reaching a dead end is always my way of seeing that I have exhausted every possible avenue on my one choice of direction, and I turn around and loop back -sometimes all the way to the beginning and sometimes only halfway back, to take another turn and try again.
And to reach the larger success, we need to get really good at appreciating and acknowledging the small successes along the way. The end goal is shiny, it looks great, and feels tremendous and the urgency is always to reach it in the shortest time possible.
But there’s a journey along the way.
I am a women’s empowerment coach. I work with women every day to reach their fullest potential and take the right track and make decisions that FEEL good to them. Whether the decision is right or wrong is no matter. To reach her end goal, a woman must choose a path that FEELS right.
You can succeed at becoming rich by robbing a bank. But that feels icky (not to mention the jail time accompanying it). You can also become rich by winning the lottery. That feels good, but that’s luck.
I’m not talking about luck. I am talking about making decisions and working your way to that ultimate success. And those decisions you make along the way, should be something you look back on when all is complete and you’re proud of how you got to your point of success.
That ultimate success comes with small decisions you make throughout your entire journey, though! So what about if you begin to recognize the small accomplishments you have made along the way?
Accomplishments look so different for each person.
A college student gets an “A” on an research essay. That was the ultimate goal. But along the way, she studied hard, didn’t go to parties, interviewed subject matter experts and worked tirelessly to complete her assignment. She’s proud of the “A”, but she can and should be proud of the accomplishments and decisions she has made to get there.
Your accomplishments stand out differently depending on the ultimate goal. A couple examples for you:
Success: Losing 20 pounds
- Deciding to make a lifestyle change in the first place (huge decision!)
- Joining a gym or subscribing to an online fitness program
- Cutting out the daily soda in favor of water
- Getting support along the way
- Getting back on the wagon after you’ve had a lapse in your goals
There are so many small accomplishments, and notice, they’re not dropping a size in pants, or losing XX pounds per week. They’re small decisions made along the way to really take the journey to overall success.
Another example for you:
Success: Getting promoted to a senior position at work
- Stepping up and volunteering for extra projects to stand out amongst your co-workers
- Willingness to stay positive (even when what you really want to do is reach through the phone and slap the person on the other end of the line)
- Putting in a couple extra hours
- Recognizing the work of your co-workers to show you are a team player
- Soliciting feedback and making adjustments as necessary
- Being a team player
It’s not about walking into your manager’s office and demanding that since you have tenure at your job, you deserve a promotion. It’s showing your manager that you’re working toward the goal, sharing with him or her your accomplishments on a weekly basis, and really working to EARN the status instead of demanding the status.
Getting stopped along the way
There’s an ‘F’ word that everyone hates to use…failure. Every path to success is faced with obstacles, speed bumps and sometimes downright dead ends. So many times, when you’re working toward a certain goal and you feel like you’re almost there, and BAM – dead end. You just cannot get through the brick wall in front of you.
Now, it’s just time to quit, right? Nobody is chipping through that brick wall.
The thought on your mind and the feelings in your heart are those of despair, frustration and anger. How could you get this far just to be stopped at this stupid brick wall?
This is going to happen with any goal, time and time again. Listen to me when I tell you – THIS IS NOT FAILURE.
I’m going to repeat that. YOU HAVE NOT FAILED. You’ve simply found one more way that doesn’t work.
Any large goal or success worth having should have roadblocks along the way. If you have a clear path, perhaps you’re not stretching yourself enough or the goal you have set is too low.
Major accomplishments are not attainable overnight. It’s a series of wins and losses, ups and downs, celebrations and heartaches.
But knowing when to quit and when to persevere is so important. Don’t quit just because you have run into a brick wall. Take a step back – take a breath. Feel what you need to feel, but don’t wallow or self-pity. Then, when you have a clear brain, use that step back to look at that brick wall. Maybe you can’t go through it, but can you go around it, or over it?
What help do you need to get around it? Is it a ladder you need to borrow get over the top? Do you need someone with a clearer map to help you see another possible path?
Now that you stepped back, it’s time to do something really scary for most of us…Ask for help.
As women, we have this innate need to be able to “do it all” – alone. Martyr syndrome – and we all have it to some extent, some more than others. But putting aside what you consider to be “pride” and asking for help, building a network, and soliciting feedback is a major accomplishment on your way to the larger overall success you’re aiming to achieve.
If you’re willing to accept help, feedback and support from others, getting to the end goal is so much more rewarding along the way.
“Alone we are strong. Together, we are unstoppable.”