Redefining Success

Remember when participation trophies were a thing?  Some bristled at the idea of giving rewards to “losers” regardless of the intent.  In all honesty, the concept was great, but the execution needed some work.  Stated plainly, it was not a reward for losing.  It was meant to be acknowledgment and encouragement to keep pushing forward.  In our society, so many activities are based on win-or-lose; it is imperative to understand that losing is not the end of the journey. 

Most successful people have a long list of failures under their belt.  Each one of those unsuccessful attempts was a learning stepping stone to move them closer to success.  Nonetheless, in general, failing sucks and causes us to feel there is something wrong within ourselves. Imagine if I told you that failing does not make you a loser.  Perhaps the timing was poor, did not do enough research, overestimated demand, focused on the wrong market, and so on.  Those items and more are mistakes, perhaps even costly ones.

Let’s reexamine how we view success. Pretend you want to be a doctor.  There are several steps to get the end goal, such as:

  • having a certain GPA
  • acceptance into college
  • finishing college
  • gaining acceptance to med school
  • finishing med school
  • internship
  • residency
  • fellowship
  • passing boards

Some will look at this list and think success is only found after completing the last item. In actuality, accomplishment is found after each level.  Typically, there are layers to reach a certain level of achievement. Unfortunately, people tend to have their eyes so focused on the prize they do not stop acknowledging and appreciating each completed step.  Some who stumble along the way may quit all together because they feel like failures.  For this reason, it is crucial to be able to look back and be grateful for the completed attainments.  Moreover, those completed steps can provide the tenacity we need to dust ourselves off and keep on moving forward.

While the emphasis is often placed on winning or the end goal, success is built with every milestone achieved. Each test, personal best, and so on smashed is a successfully placed building block. Celebrating these milestones can help to hold you up when you fall.  By making a habit of acknowledging the miles traveled, making mistakes will not always feel like starting over. 

Stay tuned to more Care for You posts!