Success is a tricky beast. That’s why I decided to talk about it today. I’ve been reading a lot about mindset and chasing success. In Joanna Penn’s Successful Author Mindset she gives you tools to maintain or redirect your mindset given certain situations. I truly enjoyed this book and revisit it frequently. However, as I'm going through my goals and plans for my business and finding myself more and more frustrated I realized something. I was losing the mindset battle. The mind is a powerful ally if you have the right mindset but it can also be a powerful foe. "Whether you believe you succeed or not, you're right," is a famous Harrison Ford quote for a reason. I was drowning in my own mind.
This realization made me pause and go back to something that I heard a long time ago. You need to define success for yourself. I’ve done this but I realized I’ve reached my definitions of success at various points during this journey but I’m never satisfied. It’s never enough. I'm stuck worrying over other people's definition of success. One of the best things I did for myself as a new author was get rid of all my expectations by telling myself and my husband that I wasn't going to worry about anything, reviews, sales, anything, until I'd been at it for ten years. The first ten years were there for me to learn and figure this out. It's been two years since I first hit publish. Now I keep chasing things. When I publish my next book I’ll feel successful. When I get x number of reviews I’ll feel successful. When I hold a paperback of my work I’ll feel successful. When in reality, each step was a success. Why am I putting all this pressure on myself? Because I slowed down? A slight bump in the road and suddenly I'm a failure? The only person who can fix this is me.
Some of you know I had a baby last March and a difficult pregnancy on top of losing my stepdad to cancer. I met him when I was about 9 months old so he’s literally always been in my life. Everything about 2016 and 2017 was hard and I published my first book in 2016. To get myself back on track I need to accept that life happens. Life kicks us while we’re down. And if I give up now, I’m resigning myself to stay on the ground. I’m not that person. I’m a fighter and I choose to get up and keep moving forward. And I'm the only one who can get myself out of the rut and back at my desk, writing.
I’ve made a list of three things to help you figure out what success means to you and how to make sure you enjoy it when you get there.
As for me, I'm going back to not worrying until 2026. That mindset helped me through a lot of tough times and I'm looking forward to this year being fun. I plan to meet new people, publish new books, and build my business. I’ll find new successes and I’ll take the time to celebrate them. Make sure you do the same. Whether it’s finishing your first or your thirty first novel. Whether it’s getting your first or hundredth review. Or your first or thousandth sale. Stop and celebrate and the next time you feel like a failure look back at all you’ve accomplished and see it for what it is. A series of small successes. And I refuse to wallow in perceived failures.
What does success mean to you? What did it mean when you first started out? Did you stop to celebrate? Let me know in the comments!
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