Why don’t I feel successful? What do I need to do to be successful? Can I attain success? These are just a few questions that have plagued me most of my life. Plagued may seem a bit strong, but for half my lifetime, I was tormented by those questions until I recognized that the height of my success is not predicated on or by the opinions of others. Why? Because the goalposts of success change with every person you seek for their opinion.
As adults, we place several injustices on our children and/or persons who may look up to us as it relates to successful careers and relationships. From the time a child is able to articulate a complete thought or sentence, and that’s whether he/she has understanding, we will ask the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And will expect the child to answer with either – an astronaut, a fireman, doctor or teacher, etc. In today’s intellectual society, to speak of such trivial occupations is belittling. Therefore, we expect our youth to describe occupations such as a psychotherapist, biomedical engineers or cardiovascular technologists…what does this all mean! Here’s where the danger sets in, our children lock themselves into these desired occupations without having exposure to anything that may lend itself outside of these professions and will use all saved educational funding (your hard-earned dollars) to then decide, they want to work as an ‘interior decorator.’ The objective of this comment is not to discount that position, but to heighten the unnecessary pressure we place on our youth and each other to keep up appearances. How many of us as adults are employed in our original ‘dream occupation?’ Yet we will continue in the charade of forced opinions on our children and each other.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt I wanted to be a nurse because I loved helping people. Well that career choice ended rather abruptly when I had the opportunity to work in the hospital for community hours, and my job was to clean – something like a spaghetti-looking tube (I was placed in the area that was responsible for cleaning all used surgical instruments) – once I was told what was coming out of those tube-things….no more nursing for me! Little did I know, that one day I would be helping thousands of persons in a more directed way. I have learned that my success was not and should not be predicated on someone else’s opinion of what progress looks like for me! Life’s lessons have exposed me to many genres of professions, what if I had closed myself to anything that fell outside of nursing. No doubt, I would be in the profession because I told everyone that’s what I wanted to be as a child. The bible says, ‘when I became a man, in this case, woman, I put away childish things’ that’s anything I aimed to do before maturity.
When you clothe yourself in others’ ideas, you will always question your success. When you fail to allow, life’s lessons to guide you away from or to an ordained plan you will find yourself unprepared for the desired success. So, the question that should be resonating with you is, ‘Can I attain success?’ The answer is a resounding yes! Know your success is based on your ideals of success. Perhaps success for you is to avoid eating dairy products because they hurt you and you were able to attain that goal – that’s success! Maybe, you’ve been trying to transfer out of your current work environment to something more suitable to your physical and financial needs, and you were promoted to another area of work or created a business – that’s success!
I have found that success is less about how and where you end up but is determined by the time and effort you place in your desired success. There was Mr. Farmer A, who spent hours tilling the earth, planting the best seed, creating water troughs within his gardens so that when the rains came a) the seed wouldn’t wash away and b) he would get the better use of the water for the nourishment of the seeds he planted for his bumper crop. There was Mr. Farmer B, who wasn’t as diligent to the details of his gardens, he did the fundamentals – he tilled the earth and planted a seed, anticipating a bumper crop. Who do you think attained success? Well, they both did! However, Farmer A’s progress was more tangible because he did everything humanly possible for the better outcome (his victory). Most of us will operate in the skill set of Farmer B but expect exceptional success like Mr. Farmer A. You must decide the type of success you are aiming to achieve and then put the time in (work) to ensure the success you desire? We will always measure our progress against someone else’s, yet we have no idea what they did to acquire or achieve their success.
Remember, the height of your success is predicated on the work/time you put into whatever you desire to achieve. You are the composer with the pen. Begin transcribing your destiny and your desired success will become evident!