Success is what you make it
I’d like to say I’m super successful. In life, in love, in work.
I’ve smashed all of last years targets for everything out of the window. If I was to sit by myself at the point of being told I was receiving my redundancy package and proceeded to tell myself that not to worry because you’ll go on to do something that you’ll be even happier doing, and meet people so completely awesome that it will blow my fucking mind away. I’d have laughed at myself.
Yet here I sit. Happy with what I do. Writing for the Huffington Post amongst several other places, with my beautiful and loving family, surrounded by some fricken awesome friends. To me, that’s damn successful in my eyes.
Yet success is a subjective thing. If I was to read my blog 10 years ago I’d have said that’ll never be me. I could never be successful. But what I didn’t realise at the time is that I was already super successful. I hadn’t quite learned to measure success against my current abilities. I was always setting my bar out of reach so I could never achieve anything I wanted to. I wanted to go straight from 0 to 100 in a day. Which wasn’t healthy for me. And I was setting myself up for failure.
10 years ago I was a waiter in a nice hotel. I was single, I had great friends and a loving family. But my family are all up in Scotland so a bit out of reach; always a phone call away, though. I’ve always wanted to be successful and always wanted to have something more for myself but I’ve never really known how to truly achieve it. I didn’t think much of myself at the time. I thought I was failing at life. My family were all doctors and teachers, and I was a waiter. It was hard comparing myself.
But what I didn’t realise was that I was already super duper successful:
- I had survived a Mental Illness, and came out on top, holding down a full-time job
- I got up, every morning, at 6am for work
- I had good friends, who I kept and appreciated
- I was managing to keep a flat by myself
- I had a social life
- I always strived for more
Doesn’t that ring super successful already? It does to me! But I couldn’t see that. I was already comparing myself to others way further ahead in life from me. And what I hadn’t realised is that I’m the only person that matters. As soon as you start the comparing game you lose my friend.
Never compare yourself to others. Others people’s journeys are entirely different to yours.
Always try and smash your own previous goals.
In 2002 after I had just come out of Psychiatric Hospital and trying to come to terms with a severe psychiatric condition, my first move was to go back to old habits. Drink lots of alcohol and not do much. So you could say back then success to me was not to have a drink and to get up at a proper time. We need to stop measuring our successes against other people. Because I was always looking up to my friends that were University educated and had great jobs paying well. And yet I wanted to be there but I couldn’t see the beautiful beach because I was too busy gaping at the Ocean.
If I had asked myself at the beginning – where do I want to be in 10 years and what realistic steps can I take to get there, life would have been a lot more manageable. But I wanted to be 10 years ahead, like yesterday. And that was very disempowering if I’m honest.
So in reality success is whatever you want it to be.
- If you normally can’t get out of bed, but you have done today – success!
- If you did something you’re normally afraid to do – success!
- If you didn’t drink today when you usually do – success!
- If you helped someone today when you’re not really a helpful person – success!
Just remember to measure success against yourself, never against anyone else. My successes are completely different from your successes and vice versa! Don’t measure against me, measure against yourself.
And well done if you read this until the end. That is a success in itself 🙂
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