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.


  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.

  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.”

    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.


What are your thoughts?