Success & Failure – Take 2

by

So I feel like I need to return to this subject and make a few clarifying points. Because I’m afraid I’ve been misunderstood.

Lisa Call left this comment on my blog yesterday:

I think this post is interesting in that it demonstrates that there are definitely some very negative ways to interpret the words success and failure – and you certainly focused on those negative connotations well.

I’d challenge you to find a healthier way to look at those words.

My take on success: http://blog.lisacall.com/2008/09/success-more-than-a-destination

She’s got a great point, and it’s an excellent post on success – you should go read it.

So I’m going to try and explain further what I mean, and maybe learn a little bit about myself in the process.

Caveat #1 – I don’t think success is bad.

I just think that the traditional ideas of success (money & fame) and basing the value of your entire life (i.e. you don’t reach those heights so you’re a failure) are bad. And so I inadvertently poo-pooed all over success in general. Not my intention, but came out wrong. Apologies.

If you have a happy, healthy definition of success that helps you get out of bed in the morning, by all means, carry on! (It’s not like I know what I’m talking about anyways.)

My point was, if you’re definition of success is about money and fame and that hurts more than it helps (you think you’re a failure) please drop it! Find something different. Find another way to think about it. It’s not worth feeling like crap about yourself over. I should know – I did it for the majority of my life. (Ask me how I feel when someone points out that I haven’t sold a painting in a couple of months.)

Caveat #2 –  I don’t know anything about anything. Seriously. Nothing.

I am 22. I am no guru. I am just curious about life. I’m on my journey, same as everyone else. And I’m exploring the world. This blog is the place where I share my thoughts about it, and what I’ve learned and what I’m questioning.

If you disagree with something I say, right on! You’ve got your own ways of looking at things, and that’s totally awesome. Wouldn’t it be boring if we all saw the world in the same way?

I am in no way, shape, or form telling anyone else how to think or act. Ugh! No, never, never, never. That makes cringe just thinking about it. Please, explore the world for yourself! Make up your own mind about things.

Caveat #3 – Goals and I have an awkward, sticky relationship

I do have goals about some things. For example, I make goals about exercising and the number of hours I spend in the studio and things I’d like to accomplish during the week, like blogging 3 times, or hanging out on Twitter for 15 minutes a day, or going for 20 walks this month.

But sales goals? I actually have a physical reaction when I think about it. My whole body tenses up. I start to itch. I panic. Goals for how famous I’m going to be? Ohmygod. I just can’t do it. I just can’t. I actually start to have trouble breathing.

But that’s just me.

I’m weird. I’ve got my own stuckified relationship around them. On the other hand, for some people, sales goals are totally awesome. And I’m happy for them. Maybe we can blame it on my being a Pisces – I’m all about flow, rather than a structured series of checkpoints for my business. I just can’t get excited about them. I’m sorry – I know I really upset people when I say this, but it’s just the way things are. It’s what works for me.

Caveat #4 – Lisa is right. Success is a way of life.

I can’t use the word success because like Lisa suggests, I do have a negative association with that word. I’ve been a perfectionist for so long that the word “success” just triggers all those behaviours.

So instead I focus on living my vision – getting up every morning and living a life that is meaningful to me. I am incredibly grateful for the life I have. I know I don’t always show it (that’s my perfectionist again – she’s a demanding b*tch) but the life that I lead is crazy wonderful and I am so blessed to be where I am. Most days I have to pinch myself.

Hopefully I’ve made myself a little more clear and I don’t sound like a horrible person who just wants to whole world to sit around and never accomplish anything. So not my point, but I’m afraid it wasn’t as clear as I’d have liked.

And now, I turn it over to you – what are your thoughts?