As a mother, one of my goals was to raise my son to be a
person of integrity and faith. So, seeing him drop to his knees at the age of 3
½ and throw his arms in the air and pray for his friend’s mom when he heard she
was sick, and then jump up to go play, secure in knowing that his prayer was
not only heard, but being answered, to me that was success. Watching him grow
up into a teenager and still having that kind of faith was a continual celebration
of success in my heart.
When I first adopted the 3 orphaned kittens, they had been
without their mother for a few days and in pretty rough shape. Little Mo was so
weak, she wouldn’t even try the bottle, and I knew she would die soon if she
didn’t eat. So, I held her to keep her warm and used my finger to gently
massage and soothe her, like her mother would with her tongue. And every time
she opened her mouth, I placed a drop of formula in with an eye dropper. By the
end of the second day, she was taking the formula a few drops at a time. On the
third day she finally tried the bottle, and from then on, she began to grow and
thrive. That was also success to me.
When I published my first book and I heard my mom and dad say, “We are proud of you and the woman you have become. You are a wonderful writer, full of beautiful stories to tell”, I felt like the most successful person on the planet!
And yet, not one single penny was involved in any of those
Too often we equate success with monetary wealth and
possessions. But I’ve seen wealthy folks with great possessions that were completely
miserable inside, with no sense of success. And I’ve seen folks with no money or
position of power that lived with a purpose and passion that brought them peace
and contentment, which was their success.
The definition of success is: The achievement of something
desired, planned, or attempted. And each person’s vision of what success looks
like is unique and individual, and it can change over time.
For instance, take a person that is overweight and
sedimentary overall, and put them on a track to begin walking. When they reach
the 1-mile mark, they celebrate a victory. If they continue to walk each day
and add a few more steps, eventually they will be celebrating at the 2-mile
Perhaps when they reach the 2-mile mark, they decide to
switch to bike riding and start exploring their area. Or they might join a gym
and start weight training, or swimming. It’s up to them to decide what they
will do, but each achievement, or success, is another step up in their personal
Dealing with setbacks…
Being patient was not one of my virtues in youth. Quite
often I would try to force success, only to blow it and lose any chance of
achieving the goal. Of course, this brought a great deal of pain and
frustration, at times making me want to give up and quit.
I finally learned something that has been invaluable to me.
If you want to be successful and wise, then hang around with people that are more
successful and wiser than you, and learn from them. In doing so, I learned that
determined effort, being patient, persistent, and watchful, will eventually
bring the desired reward or result.
Like planting a tomato seed. If you tend it properly with
water and sunlight and good soil, you will eventually have juicy tomatoes ready
to enjoy. But if you try to hurry the process, like plant too early or give it too
much water, you end up killing the plant and get nothing for your trouble.
At the same time, you must be watchful and ready to take
action when necessary. For instance, if you notice signs of bugs eating your
plants, you must take steps to get rid of the bugs without destroying the
Above all, don’t procrastinate with your opportunities of
harvest, or you may miss out.
One of the best gardens I’ve ever grown was obliterated
because I didn’t want to go out in the rain to harvest. But the moose that came
through that morning didn’t let the rain stop them from eating my entire
Though I lost the garden that year, I learned some valuable
lessons from the experience. And those lessons have helped me in other areas of
Yesterday I had a set back with staying focused on my work.
It was just one of those days with distractions that I had no control over. But
it led to a quick round of self-doubt and frustration, with feeling inadequate.
But in the middle of beating myself up for not completing my work, I realized,
not every day is going to go exactly as planned. Sometimes there are going to
be detours in life that we can’t avoid. But it doesn’t mean we failed, and it
doesn’t mean we can’t still feel accomplishment in whatever we do get done.
Every step counts, even the ones we didn’t plan on taking.
Even failures can be successes…
Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000
ways that won’t work”, as he continued to work on his light bulb.
Imagine, trying something 10,000 times before succeeding.
Most folks give up after 2 or 3 attempts.
Mr. Edison learned valuable insight from each attempt, even
if only what did not work. And then he moved on to the next attempt. In doing
so, he not only eventually succeeded in inventing the light bulb, he also had
gained a substantial amount of knowledge along the way.
The only real failure is in giving up, or worse, never
trying at all.
I am thankful for the successes in my life because they
brought confidence, encouragement, and satisfaction.
I am also thankful for the times when I didn’t succeed,
because they gave me knowledge, ideas, and taught me perseverance to keep
trying, to think and work harder.
What does success look like to you? How hard are you willing
to work for it? Get out there and get started on your dream, even if it’s only
a tiny step today. Then take another step tomorrow, and keep going. It’s your
dream, your life. Only you can live it.
“Live a life worth living, a life of integrity. Be real, kind, helpful and wise, always with an attitude of gratitude. And whatever it is you do, give 110% effort to it, even in the little things”. – Amber