By: Erica Farnsworth, Guest Blogger
What comes to mind when you think of the word “success?” Do you think of a booming business, climbing Mount Everest, or not burning the turkey on Thanksgiving? Success can mean something different to everybody.
If we take a look into the dictionary, success is described as the “correct or desired result of an attempt,” while failure is described as a “lack of success.” But what does this truly mean? You can take the definitions literally, if you’d like. However, personally when I take a deeper look at these words, I find a slightly different perspective on their meanings.
Success is dependent on many factors that none of us have control over. Life has its own way of dealing us unexpected circumstances that hinder us from our desired outcomes. It is inevitable that we experience these setbacks. But setbacks do not equal failure, unless you allow them to. You may not reach the exact result that you had in mind, but I do not believe failure is a reality until you quit trying. Giving up – the act of not striving for progress – is failure. Success is directly measured by your ability to persevere.
Success can be grandiose, meaning that you achieve all of your goals and dreams. However, some days, success can be as simple as getting out of bed in the morning. It can be as basic as giving life another chance, another day. Sometimes success can mean throwing in the towel – be it on a bad business idea, or an unhealthy relationship. These examples are not failures. They are not giving up. They are you believing in yourself enough to know what is not right and searching for success in better places.
It is easy to let the struggles in life overwhelm you: to fall into depression, to let doubt take over, to succumb to your fears. To get a little personal, I was married once and it was an extremely toxic environment. We ended up going our separate ways and following the divorce, I was broken, lonely, and depressed. My marriage was a failure. I was a failure. At least, that’s what I believed at first. I did not feel worthy. I did not see the light. I did not understand why it had to end the way it did. I allowed depression to take over. I became afraid of what the future held. I was drowning, in a sense.
But the truth is, I wasn’t a failure. I was successful in identifying and having courage enough to leave a bad situation. And following that, I had small successes every single day – whether it was eating breakfast, or landing a new job so that I could support myself, or being vulnerable enough to give dating a chance. I am a success because I refuse to let a bad situation take away my thrive for life. I am a success because I refuse to quit. I am a success because I make progress every day.
Erica brings up some great insights when it comes to developing a new mindset around success and failure. Give her perspective shift a try; next time you feel you've "failed," see if you can find some positive outcomes to count in your success column!
I am an easy-going girl who loves a good book, good music, and a good laugh. My family, friends, and dogs are my entire life. Donuts and coffee are my weakness.
image via thewellnessproject.net.au