Are you in a hurry for success? Do you see others enjoying success and wonder why they have it so easy? Maybe even a bit jealous? It is time to change your mindset.
Comparing your present situation to someone else's “overnight” success, sets up a false comparison. The person you compare yourself to started their journey some time ago. They made it this far through hard work, good decisions and maybe just a bit of luck. Instead of envy, choose to cheer those enjoying success and follow their lead to your own.
A good friend of mine's daughter, Lauren, is in high school and is becoming a solid golfer. In another year, she will be deciding which scholarship offers to accept as she heads off to college. It would be easy to watch her golf and say something like “golf is so easy for her“.
“It is having the
purpose, the focus
and discipline to
the things that
The truth, however, is the exact opposite. She has worked hard for years to get where she is today. She is not starting at this point and is not lucky to be a naturally good golfer. In fact, she started golfing with her dad several years ago, who shared his love of the game. Through his vision, patience, investment, guidance and support, Lauren's opportunity is to become a scratch golfer.
Her family's support is not all Lauren needed. She added into the mix her competitiveness, personal discipline to practice when friends were either asleep or having fun, and the dedication to hone the skills necessary to push herself well beyond “average”.
Golf is a game of elation and distress. You can be sure that along the way there have been terrible shots, questioned club choices, competitive disappointments and a host of other letdowns that ordinary people would have allowed to stand in their way or to become an excuse for not rising above average. Those were temporary setbacks and learning opportunities that contribute to Lauren's current level of success and provide the foundation for her continuing pursuit of golfing excellence.
The picture above is of an early summer morning. Practicing alone, when your feet get soaked from the dew or when fog obscures the fairway, isn't something ordinary people do; it is what future champions do.
Lauren's early morning picture represents the drive, passion, and dedication it has taken Lauren to get where she is today. That same discipline will move her well beyond this point in the coming years. She is no overnight success. Instead, she is an early morning, all day, into the evening example of the effort it takes to start the journey, build competency and seek excellence.
I'll share two quotes on success that have resonated with me lately. Each embodies the journey, not the achievement, and so defines success in a way that Lauren realizes it one chip shot at a time and in a way we can all attain it.
“Success doesn't come overnight, it is really the accumulation of a lot of little things that happen over time. It will come out and surprise you. You tend to focus on the big definitions of success and you tend to lose sight of the little building blocks of success. And so, understand that success is a journey, not a destination. Embrace your successes along the way even though they may be little. Focus on the small accomplishments and build upon them.”
“It is having the purpose, the focus and discipline to the things that really matter. You start off with very, very small steps and stay committed when things get crappy. This is where people bail. It's too hard, too much work, or [you say] “I'm never going to make it.” It is failing and getting up, failing and getting up, failing and getting up. It's in those successes that you understand that when you shrink your fear of failure, that you increase your trust in your ability to handle anything that comes at you”
Embracing Your Success
Next time you find yourself tempted to say “they have it easy“, stop making excuses and celebrate their hard work and success.
Instead of comparing yourself to others' overnight success, embrace what matters to you and your successes, building on your experiences to reach your goals. As Troy Broussard says, “Focus on the small accomplishments and build upon them.”
Stay the course, especially when obstacles and challenges seem to be your norm. You will emerge on the other side of difficulty knowing, as Carey Lohrenz says, you can “trust in your ability to handle anything that comes at you.”
At that point, you will likely be someone else's overnight success and, like Lauren, you will know the dedication that success demands.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net. “Brick Wall” by Lavoview.
Image of Carey Lohrenz from http://careylohrenz.com/