“You’ll get nowhere if you think you are less important or less deserving of success than anyone else.” Lori Greiner, Parade Magazine, Denver Post, Spring 2019.
I recently read several quotes that have made me reconsider how I measure success on my writing journey. I have been of the mindset that I can not call myself successful until a publisher or editor recognizes my genius and publishes my work. I believed that success would be mine once the world propels me to stardom and I have written the next great American Novel. Then, and only then, can I finally tick off my list that I have been successful.
Then I read the quote above from Lori Greiner of Shark Tank fame. In the same article, she states “Your success will have everything to do with how you perceive yourself, because how you perceive yourself is how others will perceive you too.” Although she focuses on inventors and business deals, her quotes can be applied to all journeys we undertake in our lives.
What makes one person more important and deserving than another? Hard work? Talent? Ego? Belief? Society? Humility? If I’m reading Ms. Greiner’s quote correctly, the answer is nothing – we are all just as important and deserving, we just have to believe we are. And that is no easy feat.
I have a hard time acknowledging my own successes – large or small – and believe that if I am humble and work hard, I might deserve what I am seeking. If I don’t get it, it’s okay because maybe I wasn’t good enough to begin with. I’m afraid acknowledging my strengths is a sign of arrogance, and that the universe will recognize the arrogance and prevent me from reaching goals I so desperately want to reach. I read my favorite authors and think, “Wow, I wish I could write like that!” Or, I might say “Where did they get such a great idea? If only I had the talent.”
I have looked for others to define success for me, but really the only person who can define it for me is…me. How do I define success on my journey? Do I believe I deserve it as much as someone else? Is it arrogant to perceive myself as smart, knowledgeable and talented? These are all questions I am working to answer for myself as I now understand no one else can answer them for me. I need to search for answers inwardly and stop shifting that burden to outside forces.
These questions are not easily answered because looking inward is difficult. I haven’t quite acknowledged that I’m just as important or deserving as the brilliant authors who, in my opinion, have reached the height of publishing success. I’m working on it. But I did agree with myself on one thing. I plan to begin measuring success in increments, and allow myself to be proud of the small successes as they come. Success is every time I sit down to write. Success is having already written a novel. Success is continuing to submit my work despite rejections. Success is having ideas for more writing projects. Success is continuously looking for resources that will support my ambitions. Success is working on this blog. Success is not giving up on my dream.
Success is there if only we allow ourselves to see it.