Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How Do You Define Success? (Part 2 of 3)

"I'm angry at God," my writer-friend said over lunch. "I want to be a best-selling author and God won't let me."

In shock, I stared at him. "You told me you'd published nine novels and countless articles. How many authors do you know who've sold that many books?"

"But I'm not a best-selling author."

Although that conversation happened several years ago, I think of it often. I told him that many authors would envy his record.

"But I can't make a living from my writing."

Then I understood. He needed to have books on the best-seller lists and earn enough to support himself from book sales. I don't know him that well, but my guess is that even if he achieves his goal, he'd still feel unsuccessful.

His dreams of hitting the top of the charts is a fine idea. And it may happen. But even if he does, will he feel like a winner?

Success is an inside job.
It's who we are and not what we produce.

3 comments:

  1. I chuckle at multiple book authors (leaps and bounds ahead of me) who whine at their lack of success. I admire how far they've come and that they're a known entity. Your post dials it back to being realistic with our expectations.

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  2. Carolyn asked to explain how I've "moved from success being a moving target to embracing each morning with gratitude for the gift [I’ve] been given."
    I don't know, but here are a couple of things that certainly help.
    1. For more than 20 years, each morning when I awaken I pause to tell God 10 things for which I’m grateful. I repeat that exercise during the day and it has made a powerful difference in my life.
    2. I struggled with success—mostly when I compared myself with other writers. “He’s a lousy writer, how did he get to be a best seller?” “I couldn’t ever write as well as ….” The comparisons usually made me feel inferior.
    3. As I gained self-confidence in my writing, I slowly ceased comparing myself. Each time I sold a book or received royalty payments, I stopped and thanked God. Not just a quickie, “thanks, Lord,” but several times over the next few days.
    4. By God’s grace (the only way I know to say it), over a period of time, I realized I was successful. It wasn’t because of the books I’d sold, but something deeper, something inside that made me know I was being faithful to God by continuing to grow as a writer, giving myself to help other writers, reminding myself of these words—which I say every day: “Everything I am and everything I have come as gifts from God.”

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cec, for taking the time to share the above. I've written them down, and I'll be intentional to implement them into my life.

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