The Success Meter
Have you ever felt like you were pushing so hard, giving it your all, and doing everything you thought was right… only to still struggle with the disappointment of not reaching success?
Have you at one time or another compared your success to other people, looking at what they have done and feeling worried because what they have done far exceeds what you have accomplished?
Have you worked day and night, pushed yourself to the limits, and felt angry that you wake up each day only to have to do it again with no end in sight, like you’re running on a hamster wheel?
Have you stayed up late at night anxiously staring at the ceiling and praying for answers to problems and issues that you don’t seem to have any answers for?
If so, you are in good company!!
Ask anyone who is successful these same questions and they will agree! These emotions and worries are all part-and-parcel of going after your dreams. Yes, all individuals, big and strong, smart and educated, talented and gifted, have similar success-driven feelings of impatience, uncertainty, stress, worry, and grief. Just like the swirl of emotions that comes hand-in-hand with having a baby, christening a ship, getting fired, buying a puppy, or taking off in a hot air balloon, a whole gambit of emotions swirl around our desire for success. None of these situations have just ONE emotion.
In fact, I dare you to name any event that has just one single emotion attached to it. From buying groceries to climbing the 1665 steps it takes to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower to holding your breath, the body, mind, and spirit go through a myriad of emotions. Just brushing our teeth has us questioning: should I do this now; feeling annoyed: there’s always guck around the lid of the tube; feeling surprised: wow, toothpaste lasts a long time; feeling need: I hope this helps my teeth; feeling uncertain: how old is this toothbrush; I should probably get a cleaning; and feeling relief: my mouth feels better. I could go on and on. Nothing happens without a plethora of emotions, so why would striving for success be any different?
Think of any big decision, big idea, or big dream that you have had and remember the roller-coaster of emotions that you felt along the way. From excitement to worry to determination, ambitions, fear, passion, and doubt, our minds run the never-ending obstacle course of emotions in almost everything we do. Success is no different. You are going to feel it all, experience a bunch of emotions, and internalize the highs and lows along the way. That is how all things work and success is no different.
What makes it uncomfortable is that for some reason we attach our self-worth to our success. Few of us hang our self-worth on brushing our teeth, bagging groceries, or how we walk up steps. We don’t normally judge ourselves in those situations; instead, we let the many emotions just come and go without any attachment.
In success, we often are the opposite. We labour over the emotions and toss them around in our heads like a mighty tennis match. Should I? Excitement. Shouldn’t I? Doubt. What if I do this? Worry. Or do that? Curiosity. Imagine if you brushed your teeth that way; questioning, debating, wondering, worrying… half in and half out. The reason why you don’t do that with brushing your teeth is because you’ve brushed your teeth so many times before, sometimes successfully, other times not. But you know you’ll get another chance at it tomorrow and another chance the day after that, so you are not invested in the possibility of failure. You don’t see the outcome as an indicator of your worth.
The same can be applied to success. You are not the outcome. How you are valued and the emotions you feel are all just part of the process. The experience is meant to be tried, challenged, enjoyed, and then tried, idealized, conceptualized, and rewarded. There is always another shot at it and another after that. The emotions you feel around success are just part of the entire experience, and in having this experience, you get to feel all the emotions. Just like learning to ride a bike: I get to feel it. Getting married: I get to feel so many things. Raising a child: I get to feel it all. Everything holds the magic of circus clowns and fire-breathing dragons of emotion, and so does success.
When emotions arise, see them as part of the process. When feelings erupt, honor them and ask for guidance. When worry, depression, anxiety, or disappointment creeps in, smile and know that soon enough, joy, delight, and pride are right around the coroner. Happiness, gratitude, and grace are next. Love, thankfulness, and inspiration will follow. You are meant to feel ALL the emotions in all that you do, so love every emotion that you experience on your journey to success. Feeling is what being alive and being human is all about. So lean into the thrill of feeling your heart pumping, blood churning, toes curling, eyes smiling, pride beaming, and love flourishing that proves you are a success at being you.
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