Monday, March 23, 2015

Quiet Success

"Everyone wants to be successful until they see what it actually takes."

I saw this quote on facebook this week. I don't know who said it, but it was accompanied with a picture of a ballerina's bleeding and bandaged feet. Success looked pretty painful.

And I bet you saw the picture of the physician after losing a 19-year-old patient that went viral last week. A moment of "failure" . . . probably after doing everything he was humanly capable of doing.

As I consider these two images, thoughts are swirling in my brain. Success is such an interesting concept. One word, but defined so differently from person to person. Are we only a success when we've reached the point of being a "prima ballerina"?

I once ran a half marathon. It was hard. It left my feet a mess, and gave me aches I still deal with. Am I a failure since I now choose to run shorter distances? I don't see it that way. I see it as a success that I still run.

A person who writes a book, but never gets an agent or sells it . . . are they a failure? I don't see it that way. I think they are a success for finishing the book.

Now don't get me wrong. I believe very strongly in working hard to achieve something. And I don't think we should hand out awards just for showing up (I really hate the trophies they give to everyone for just playing rec soccer or whatever). But as we celebrate the small successes, they can keep us moving forward when everything else would tell us to stop. Give up.

Work hard. Do your best. Don't give in. And when you reach a milestone, celebrate! Don't be afraid to recognize the quiet successes that litter our lives.

What is your most recent quiet success? I'd love to celebrate with you!


Dianne K. Salerni said...

You are so right, Janet! I think way too often we put ourselves down for not achieving the "success" that we see someone else enjoying, rather than celebrate what we ourselves have managed to accomplish.

I didn't get any starred reviews for my last book. Seems unlikely that it will win any awards. However, every time I get a message from a kid who loved it (via email, FB, Twitter, or a mom who stops me in the grocery store to say her son is anxiously waiting for the next one) ... I wonder why in the world anyone would prefer the star or the award? :D

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Janet, I agree we should mark the quieter successes in our lives. You might want to join Alexa Cain's "Celebrate the Small Things" blog hop and add your links to the links there. Every Friday you post one or two things you're celebrating in the current week. Here's the site:

Beth said...

I hadn't seen that photo - so of course I had to google it, and now I'm feeling very moved.
Absolutely, we set our goals as high as we can, and work as hard as we can. But whether we reach that goal doesn't label us either a "success" or a "failure".

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I love the idea of this! Success has to be self-defined, otherwise we're following the world's overly broad version and will always end up unsatisfied. My quiet success this week is finally starting up my blog again (after a year and a half, yikes!). :) So there's that.

Anonymous said...

I so agree with this! We need to celebrate even our small successes so we continue to focus on the 'prize.' If we think 'I don't want to sink' we take our focus off the goal and start to sink! My latest success is writing again on my blog. And on to the next step!