Figuring out Success

The GBE2 word of the week is Success. I am supposed to write about success. Truth is, I don’t want to. What can I say – I have very little experience with that word. When that assignment came out last weekend, I was surprised by my reaction….turns out I don’t like the word.  But since I have to blog about it, I will try to figure out why, (yup, right in front of your eyes) So, welcome to my “secrets” about success. I apologize in advance, this is definitely not, “the secrets to success,” or anything of the sort.  

I don’t know how to measure success….it’s like someone is constantly moving the finish line, or raising the bar, changing the rules… soon as you just about reach it, poof…you realize you have a long, long way to go yet. I guess that is good. I wouldn’t want to just live life sitting on the finish line.

It’s like having a child….finally a baby is on the way…can’t wait for him or her to arrive…whew, success the baby is born….but that is not the end….figuring out how to feed and care for the tiny thing…walk….talk….drive a car….graduate…get a job….it’s never ending, and then if they fail, did you fail?  Where did the success line go?  One of my sons is graduating 6th grade. I am shocked at all the parties and hoopla surrounding this “success”….I want to raise my hand and say, um- just a sec, you know this is far from over right?

As a freelancer, and as an artist….success is just as uncertain and ever-changing. The roller coaster of highs and lows, ridiculous speeds and long long waits never quite feels like success. The biggest success I suppose is just being able to do what I love for a living.  Even then, whoo hooo, yippeee, new assignments, published piece, sold artwork, editor liked it, art show….where do I shout, “Success!” ?  Those are all intermingled with rejections, critical comments, dusty art, more rejections….hmmm success?   Would selling my book make me a success?  Or was writing it enough to constitute that label?  Would losing ten pounds make me a success, or is simply being able to run without dying make me a success. Health, happiness, roof over my head…

I’m not disillusioned. There was never a time in my life that I could say I had success mapped out. It’s not like I had a concrete plan….instead I have a great big list of things to try, things to experience, places to go, things to see, even jobs to have….

….but since one of the definitions of success simply means “the achievement of something desired, planned or attempted.” Then I am a success. I plan, desire and attempt lots of stuff….and surprisingly am occasionally successful at pulling them off one way or another.  (it’s the other definition of success I am not so successful at “the gaining of fame or prosperity.”)

Success is a long winding path through a dark forest
and since I love dark forests
success and I have made up

thank you GBE2 
you’ve saved my rocky relationship
with success.

Posted in art

10 thoughts on “Figuring out Success

  1. Sylvia (it's fun using that name),I like your reflections here. So many things during the course of a normal day take us away from the clear focus of our "map to success." I have found that I must start and end the day with a reflective effort to stay on the path I have chosen (even when four-year old twins are disagreeing as I write this!). I think it is normal for most to think of life having more failures and side-tracks than successes. And, it is human nature to focus on these instead of what we have truly accomplished. Unfortuantely, most are never taught the steps to success and that it isn't always the one who finishes first. Just my thoughts in the space of the three free minutes I currently have.Peace. . .

  2. I agree success is ongoing. It's survival baby, at least in my neck of the woods. Two steps forward five steps back, that is how my life seems to go too. It is hard to figure out what really is a success. I have discovered I must celebrate survival and the fact I am still plugging away. That is a success. Not beaten yet. The fact I am not on antidepressants is a success. YAY! Well done. I don't really like the word either and had to travel 25 years back in my existence to even find a moment I felt I might have been successful. LOLKathy

  3. Brenda – THANKS!!!! :) Beth….let success be the song that 'goes on and on and on'Mojo – dang, love your blog! Craig – cool….world's colliding, thanks for reading :) Pirate Pam – true truePeter – yep, success is a slippery thingKathy – "We will survive!"

  4. This was great. The one thing I decided is that its the journey to success that you have to appreciate…not so much reaching the finish line :)Cheers, Jenn

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