(Heads up. This is a long post.)
We’re talking about success and failure.
Maybe we need to define what success is, what failure is. It’s how we view failure that really matters in our quest for success.
Is it success when we take a little step forward toward our goals?
Is it failure when we take a little step back?
I can use myself as an example in a couple of areas in my life.
When I took my first drawing class I was scared to pick up the pencil.
When I took my first painting class, I was scared to pick up the paintbrush and even more frightened to put paint on the paper. I sat in front of that big piece of white paper terrified. I must have sat there a long time because finally the teacher came over and whispered in my ear, “Rebecca, it’s only a $3.00 piece of paper”.
I ran into that teacher a few months ago and we chatted for a few minutes. She asked me what I was up to and I started describing all the DIY projects I had taken on. She gave me the greatest compliment, “Rebecca, creativity just oozes out of you.” Coming from her that meant a lot.
Now, you should know, I really struggled in the beginning. But now I don’t even think twice and I think my paintings can be considered “art”.
But I had a lot of failures along the way. One of my goals for this year is to make some prints from my paintings and sell them at a local art store. Am I afraid they’ll just sit there and no one will buy even one?
Of course. But I will have succeeded because I will have tried.
Talk about a lot of failures along the way. Whoa! If you have been with me a few years, you ‘ve read some poorly written posts. You’ve read some ramblings that didn’t go anywhere.
I worked harder at this than anything I’ve ever done. My learning curve was straight up and I almost quit a number of times. And the actual design of the blog was mindboggling hard for me. I broke down in tears a few times I was so frustrated.
Do I consider myself successful now?
Yes, because I believe I am communicating effectively.
No, because I haven’t found my rhythm yet. Maybe I never will. Maybe that IS my rhythm.
Our church is doing something kind of interesting in a few weeks. We are to dress in a way that shows what we “do” or want to “do”. Well, my occupation now is “Blogger”. I’m carrying my computer to church and handing out business cards with my name and my website’s name. When people ask me what I blog about I’m going to tell them.
That might not sound like much to you but it’s really big for me. You see I’m very comfortable writing in the safety of my home. I’m very comfortable “talking” to you like this. But to tell people in person that I blog, I find scary.
And, honestly, there are other areas in my life I couldn’t care less whether I succeed or fail. I don’t think we need to define every area in our lives as success or failure. I think there are some people that do but I’m not one of them. I’m perfectly content to be mediocre in some areas. I hope you have areas of your life like that. It gives us some breathing room.
(An aside: I prefer to think in terms of “Is this (whatever “this” is) the very best I can do”? I always use January to do some thinking and reflection about the past year. As you know my mother died May 11th so it seems particularly important this January. I had no idea where I was headed and then one day I was doing something and I immediately said to myself, “Is this really the best you can do?” I believe that was definitely from God and I have been asking that about everything, from my wardrobe to my makeup, to my cooking, to my decorating, to my praying, even to my grocery shopping. I will be posting more about this later.)
As long as we don’t equate success with money or fame, we can pursue our goals without a lot of pressure.
One of the things my mom used to say (Boy, it hurts to write “used” in reference to her), which really bothered me was that she “wasn’t good at anything”. It wasn’t true. She was good at lots of things and I tried to tell her that often. But she always equated success with money and fame. It broke my heart.
I won’t bore you with all the names of the highly successful writers whose manuscripts were rejected time and again, the Olympians who fell more than soared, or the number of experiments scientists conducted before succeeding. But the one thing they all had in common was how they looked at failure.
They saw failure as stepping stones to success.
I was searching blogs using the word “failure” and I found the following quote. ( That website is here.)
I hope if you have dreams, you will start at least taking the first steps towards that dream. I won’t say that it’s the journey that ultimately matters but I will say that it’s the journey that defines our final outcome.
It was my first year of experimenting with paint, paper, and techniques that defined my style.
It was my first year of blogging that helped me define what I wanted to write about.
I really didn’t know in either case where I was headed. I just knew I had to stay on the journey until I figured it out.
Tenacity almost always get us where we want to go.
Don’t give up. I won’t say we can do anything we want to do because I don’t think that is always true, but I do believe we can get pretty darn close.
Is there anything you’ve been told you can’t do? What if it isn’t true?
Have you ever accomplished what you thought was impossible?
God bless and have a great day.
(“I found a new blog the other day with an interesting title. Check her out here.”)