Earlier in the year, I wrote something about how I’d worked myself into a bit of a tizz regarding my writing career.
I was feeling sh*tty, to be honest – namely because I wanted everything immediately. I was comparing myself to others who had been doing similar work for years. And also because I was forgetting exactly what I HAD achieved in my work and my business up to that point.
It was only when I started thinking about what ‘success’ actually means for me – buoyed by a very helpful podcast by the name of Letters From A Hopeful Creative* – that I started feeling better.
I started to see a way out of the oh-god-I-must-do-everything-now-but-where-the-hell-do-I-start overwhelm that was threatening to throw me off course before I’d even really got going.
The podcast I mentioned talked about success (for the host, Sara Tasker, and for many of us, I expect) equalling happiness and freedom.
This is very much the case for me. To feel happy in my work (and life) I crave freedom: not working to anyone else’s schedule and having – or at least striving towards – a good work/life balance.
I identified this in my original post, and this goal of happiness/freedom stopped me from being such a stresshead and gave me focus.
So, what does success look like to YOU? What does it really look like?
Their business is not your business, and vice versa
It is very easy nowadays to get sucked into the comparison trap and feel disappointed by our own level of ‘success’ when it’s set against the perceived success of someone else. When image can be carefully crafted and curated more easily than ever, no-one knows what is really going on in others’ lives and others’ businesses.
But when it comes down to it, none of what someone else has, or doesn’t have, matters; it’s all about YOU.
Their business is not your business, and vice versa.
When you’re just starting out, it can be scary to think that you’re never going to get one client/customer, never mind 50, so is it even worth bothering to try in the first place?
Erm, yes, it really is.
Why are you worrying about finding 50 clients/customers? Do you really need them in order to be ‘successful’? Or actually, would one or two clients be enough, at least to start with?
And lo, we’re back to that same question, what does success look like to YOU?
Defining success can be done in various ways….
…but a sensible starting point is financial stability.
How much money do you really need to make every month? Do you have a handle on your income and outgoings every month? Could you make cutbacks in some areas in order to start living the life you really want?
Are you happy to earn enough to cover the basics, and are you willing to make a few sacrifices if necessary – in the beginning at least? Or would success only equal earning enough to cover all bills etc plus a nice car, fancy holidays, expensive clothes?
It’s different for everyone, of course. Heck, whatever floats your boat, no judgement here.
For me, it brings me encouragement and takes the pressure off to know the minimum I need to earn every month, but also to equate success with things that cost no/little money – i.e. the freedom of setting my own schedule and having some time to read and swim and eat almond croissants. (I am laughing now because I rarely read or swim at the moment but GOALZ, eh?)
I’ve also got ideas and bigger goals that I’m striving towards, that equate to ‘success’ for me in the future – these are things that are mainly in my head but I know some people swear by vision boards for this. That’s not to say that I’m not grateful for the ‘success’ I’ve achieved to date, but that it’s also more than A-OK to look ahead and focus on future goals too.
And taking time to recognise the progress you’re making in achieving your goals is key too.
(Today’s goal, in case you’re wondering, is to try and dislodge Dressed For Success by Roxette* from my head; it’s in there now and will not budge.)
Bye for now x
*It’s episode 3, from 9 July 2018 – Let’s Talk About Instagram Anxiety – if you’re interested.
**And yes I have just had to watch the Roxette video on YouTube, and might have fallen down a little Roxette rabbit hole. That hair!