My View of Success

Let’s sit down and chat. Have a cup of coffee perhaps? I have some heavy stuff on my mind I want to get out.

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Success. It’s a funny business. Some people want it so badly, they will do anything for it. Some aren’t sure how to define it, and some  search after the happiness that “success” brings. Other people get nervous when you talk about success, maybe because they have failed a lot, or maybe they are jealous. Some people may even feel “behind” when others around them have success after success, but not a lot of people want to bring it up.

I am a very competitive person, which served me very well in school. I made good grades, was captain of different sports teams, and luckily never really had to feel unsuccessful or unhappy with the way things were going aside from your regular high school drama. It was all well and good for 17 year old Heather, but adult world is way harsher and harder than high school sports and school world, and I quickly found myself feeling behind in life.

After college, things didn’t go as planned for us career wise, and I will be the first to admit it was hard seeing those around me succeed in that area. I was of course happy for THEM, but unhappy that I wasn’t there WITH them if that makes sense. Bobby and I had to deal with several struggles as young married folk that you don’t typically see, and I would like to think that looking back it has made us stronger, but I am also ashamed at how I have reacted in certain situations dealing with “success”.

The funny part is, that everyone thinks the grass is always greener on the other side, but what they don’t know Is that the other person has struggles of their own that they just haven’t shared. I could look at all of my friends and name success that they have had that they probably wouldn’t even consider a success, because it was something that may have come easy to them, or wasn’t something that they struggled with. unnamed (37)

I live in a very nice town. I love it, but the problem with it is that it’s like an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians. Fancy cars everywhere, huge homes, stuff, stuff, stuff, everywhere. Little kids wearing designer things, everyone with a boat, a country club membership, and first class airplane tickets. Let’s be clear: Is there anything wrong with those things in themselves? NO. However, the Bible is clear on this subject in Matthew chapter 6 verse 20-21:

20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

What do you consider your treasure? It will show evidence of where your heart is. Is your treasure a fancy house or the most luxurious car? Is it having the smartest kid in school? Is it having the fastest race time in your running group? Maxing out the highest weight at CrossFit?

Again, none of these things are bad, it’s awesome to set and reach goals, but if this, this is ALL there is, if it is something you OBSESS over and let it BECOME your life instead of part OF your life, then that is the problem. If your success lies in things, if it lies in awards, or pats on the back, or people telling you that you have it all together, then you are missing out on the treasure my friends. Have you ever been to a funeral, and in the casket there were items placed inside that the person who passed away would want to take with them? But…they are still sitting there, in the casket. You cannot take your stuff out of this world. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy things while you are hear, but let’s all think about taking time to invest in other things as well, right?

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I am including myself in this as well. As a highly competitive person I have fallen victim to many of these things time and time again. Why is she so successful, I try hard, too? Why do they seem to have it easy, what are they doing right that we aren’t? Maybe you are asking the wrong questions. What about, people, relationships, quality time, happy, healthy kids, a mission minded church family, an answer to a long awaited prayer, helping someone through a rough spot.

I think we could all benefit from taking a step back and thinking about society’s definition of success, and God’s definition of success. At the end of this life, it won’t matter how much stuff I have accumulated, or how many trophies I have, but the way I treated my neighbors, how I sacrificed my time to help a stranger, and the way I chose to love others will indeed matter. I’m going to work on storing up the right kind of treasures, and being a success in the eyes of the one who really matters.

QOTD: What is your definition of success? Do you ever fall into the “stuff” or “awards” trap?

Success is a Journey

"Success is a journey, not a destination"

– Ben Sweetland

This a quote I love and live by daily.

It’s become very relative to my journey through weight loss and [more recently] my journey to running 6 half marathons in 6 months and also training for a marathon this October.

As tedious as it can be, with tears and frustration looming over me many times, the quote is a reminder to focus on what steps I’ve taken to get to these milestones in my life instead of becoming frustrated with my setbacks or un-met expectations!

It’s not an exact science, by any means, but is attainable 😉 I’ll use my own experience with my recent half marathon obsession as a benchmark, just as an example.

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What goal did you initially set & why?

Remember that! You started with an idea, a thought, something you wanted to accomplish. Think back to the reasons why you set that goal. For me, running 6 half marathons in 6 months was [technically] a bucket list item I wanted to check off early in my 30s. I was never a runner, distance runner anyway, so I wanted to say I became a [second level] Half Fanatic. Why? I was never active growing up. I was the book worm and girl who wanted to be a famous painter when she grew up. I struggled with weight all of my life until I learned how to eat and workout properly. I was in the best shape of my life when I hit 30. Why not? Every goal should have purpose.

What steps have you taken to work on that goal?

Okay, you started somewhere, now remember how far you’ve come. Looking at my half marathon path, I’ve gotten really upset with myself. I mean, all-out pout fest upset. Why? Because I didn’t PR when I set out to PR at my 3rd half. Because I had a hard time breathing at the 4th half [asthmatic.] I have to sometimes tell myself "So What!" I have to remember that I never thought I’d run 6 miles let along 8 or 13.1. I put in the training and I couldn’t predict how the race day was going to be. Sometimes we get really hard on ourselves instead of focusing on how far we’ve come – we all deserve a gold star for a job well done every once in a while, from ourselves.

What positivity have you experienced through the process of working on your goal or mission?

Whether it’s my run journey or your journey to get your college degree or to learn how to make a gluten-free cake, there’s been ups. The downs should be dismissed more often than not. I’ve made some of the best friends and had some of the best experiences through every goal journey I’ve taken. Remember the positive. What if you never started? Would you have not met your weekly happy hour pal had you not started to take that cooking class? I might not have met my hubby had I not started going to the gym [true story.] Would you not have lost 10 pounds had you not started to walk every night after work when you started to work  your way to a 5k. Benchmarks deserve gold stars too.

The success you experience when working towards a goal isn’t merely achieved by attaining it – it’s by living the path to get there. We beat ourselves up and make new goals – ‘better’ goals – instead of reveling in the hard work and effort we’ve already put in. All of that hard work will go to waste if not acknowledged.

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Come visit my blog at Sneakers and Fingerpaints!

QOTD: When’s the last time you focused on the success of the journey and not the destination?