Everyday Success

Have you ever wallowed in your own success or, rather, lack of? We’ve all attempted things in the past only to be disappointed when the outcome we received failed to take the form we hoped for. We’ve all felt like a failure at some time or other. But the truth is many of us don’t even recognize what success is. Success, we reason, has to be some grand, spectacular thing we’ve accomplished in order for it to count. But life is made up of many smaller successes, successes we encounter every day and shrug off because they seem too small, too insignificant. (I haven’t saved a life, or brought about world peace, I haven’t climbed any mountains–you know how it goes.)

If only we’d change the way we think.

Success doesn’t need to be some grandiose thing–the making of a million dollars or the purchase of a seaside home worth millions. Success can be as simple as getting out of bed in the morning—maybe not for you or me, but for some people I’m sure it is.

Today, I challenged myself to write down 100 of my successes. FYI I’m reading, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I figured if it was good enough for Jack Canfield, it was good enough for me. I mean, even if you’ve never read a single “Chicken Soup” book, you’ve got to admire this man for what he has accomplished. So when Jack suggests making a list, I make a list. What can it hurt?

So with pen and paper in hand I set out, wondering if I even had 100 successes to write down. 100 is a lot, I mean a LOT. I started out with the important ones—the birth of my children, thirty-six years of marriage, the publication of two books and my many other writing accomplishments. I quickly wrote down the award my first book was short-listed for. I whizzed through all these things with plenty of steam to spare.

But then it got a little more challenging. Hey, I’m not all that interesting. I haven’t done that many things. At least that’s what I thought! I dug back into my childhood and added things like learning to swim, to print, to read, and to write—all very important accomplishments. I’ve never won any big awards but I got my drivers license at twenty-five even though (and many of my friends can confirm this) I don’t really like driving. I taught Sunday school—bet you didn’t know that. I was even a 4-H leader at one time. I added friends to the list because to have friends is to have success, and I’ve got some pretty awesome friends. (Please take a bow if you’re one of them reading this now!) I listed the fact that after six years I’m still blogging and hey, I even have some followers, some of you even check out my posts when I publish them! I added learning how to can vegetables the year I was married. And even learning to play the recorder in grade five (shivers to this day.) I was a choir member in elementary and wrote and presented several speeches to the Home and School Association even though my heart was pounding in my ears. I wrote my first play at ten and bribed persuaded my friends into act in it with promises of fame and fortune. (Okay, so the promised fame and fortune part never happened. Who knew what fame and fortune was back in the fifth grade anyway?)

The more things I thought about the more successful I felt
which I suppose is the point of the whole exercise. I’m only half-way through the list but I’m confident I’ll reach 100 before the evening is out. I’ll be on top of the world!

No matter what your definition of success it, the one thing we can all agree upon is that success is always a positive thing. And if you think you haven’t been very successful in life maybe you need to rethink you definition of success. Maybe we could all benefit by taking a step back and deciding just what success looks like. Does it mean you have to lower your standards? I don’t think so. We can still set goals, in fact there’s nothing wrong in that, but we should still take time to acknowledge all those everyday successes that come our way while we’re waiting for that goal we’ve set to become a reality.

For the writer waiting for that first piece to be published, maybe success is the writing of a publishable short story, poem, novel or article. Maybe it’s making a commitment to creating a blog and writing regular blog posts. Or maybe it’s taking the time to write a letter to someone you know would appreciate a hand-written note. We won’t all sell thousands of copies of our books, we won’t all win awards, we won’t all retire from the royalties we earn, and we won’t all be published in book form—but we can still be successful.

So if you’re not feeling very successful at the moment I’d suggest you start making a list of your own, and I challenge you NOT to feel successful by the time you reach 100.

Ready…set…go!

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23 Comments

  1. This is a great idea, Laura! I think if I were able to list 99 things, number 100 would be that I had 99 successes, therefore, 100. 😉

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    Reply
    • I’m positive you will find at least 100 things. Actually, when I reached 100, a few more things popped into my mind so I jotted them down too. I loved doing this. I hope you will make a list too, Lynn! We all need to recognize just how successful we are. 😀

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      • This could be just what I need right now, Laura. Year 5 just began in our caregiving of a family member, and it’s been a personal struggle for me the past year or so – but I’m feeling the heaviness beginning to lift. Attitude contributes a lot in getting through, so perhaps I should set out this challenge as an ongoing effort on my blog – although that seems like a lot of work. It could make a difference – maybe to more than myself.
        Thanks for this, Laura.

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  2. christicorbett

     /  April 7, 2015

    I love this post!

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  3. I like this idea a lot. When we’re down it’s very easy to create a list of all the things we haven’t done. During those high-doubt times, reading our list of successes would be a big help in getting back on track.

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  4. This is a great idea and a wonderful post. Sometimes one needs a quiet talk with a friend to think about how fabulous and lucky we really are. I’m off to make my list. ❤ I wonder how far my list will go.

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  5. Great post, Laura. I’m glad I stopped here today. It’s funny how we will let a little failure define us. You have given us all a clearer perspective. Hey, girl, you are quite a profound success! I knew that anyway. Blessings to you, Laura…

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    • I’m glad to stopped by, too, Carol Ann. Yes, we tend to dwell on the things that didn’t go the way we’d planned and so many times we overlook the things we did just right.

      You made me smile today, and to put a smile on someone’s face is the sign of a successful person. Thank you for always being your sweet, generous self!

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  6. suzicate

     /  April 8, 2015

    My favorite definition of success- By Ralph Waldo Emerson: To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty;to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child,a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.

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    Reply
    • I absolutely love this definition of Emerson’s, and it’s so true. We need to give ourselves credit for all the things we do right. To lift someone’s spirit, the make someone’s day a bit bright are some of the most important things we can do. It’s why we’re here I think!

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  7. When we feel we can’t be successful, it might be that we need to redefine success. Too often I believe our definition is determined by what we see of others’ achievements. I like your idea of deliberately listing our own. Reminds me a bit of that old hymn, “Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” I’ve persisted in counting joys, a la Ann Voskamp, and being thankful for even the smallest everyday kind. Both kinds of our list making help to foster a positive attitude.

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    • I love the fact that we always have a choice as to how we’ll perceive something. Most times there’s a positive way of interpreting life. Counting are blessings is very much the same thing, and something that many us don’t take the time to do, and I think it’s important to feel grateful for all the small things in our lives as well. Writing these things down is a great reminder for us.

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  8. I LOVE this. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. This is so true. The brain is a powerful computer/instrument and I’ve always believed we can do anything if we believe it. Negative or positive. Wanna be happy? Choose to be. That simple. Marvellous, eh?

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  10. David

     /  April 13, 2015

    My best success story is for my daughters to have turned out well, considering we had no idea of what we were doing. The manual got lost somewhere in our clutter. 🙂

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    • lol! Yes, that darn manual is an illusive thing, isn’t it?

      I think it’s wonderful that you count your daughters as your best success story! I have a feeling they are very lucky to have you for a dad.

      Nice to have you visit. It’s been awhile!

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