The deeper I find myself in this weird and wonderful creative online world the more it seems clear that we are all striving for the same things. Even if the core of what we do is different, we all hope to be successful and happy – seems pretty simple right?
To me, and I’m sure I’m not alone, happiness and success have always felt inextricably linked.
The tricky thing about success is that it can be a little elusive and can always feel just out of reach. How do we make sure we find some contentment along the way and enjoy each little part of the process? When do we let ourselves have a ‘top of the mountain’ moment? When do we ever really feel like we’ve ‘made it’?
I have been thinking about what I would like 2017 to hold for my family and I and been working through Susannah Conway’s ‘Find Your Word 2017’, and it has had me thinking about all of this stuff.
It’s a difficult balance to get right, the duality between that ambition we all feel to push forwards and grow whilst also managing to acknowledge what we have already achieved, and all the awesome things we do day in and day out.
It’s definitely not something that I have figured out yet, and I watch a lot of my peers struggle with this too, but it is my intention to really focus on this in 2017. It’s an important thing to give some attention to, because once you have a handle on it, I bet it makes the world of difference to how you feel about your self and your life in general.
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” ~ Chinese Proverb
Of course it makes sense that if we hope to see our dreams realised, then we need to set ourselves goals and work towards something. However wouldn’t it be great if we could approach this in a way where we cheer ourselves on as much as possible, as opposed to tripping ourselves up with unhelpful negative thoughts and self doubt.
One thing that I am definitely guilty of doing is moving the ‘finish line’. It can be so easy to fall into the bad habit of thinking, “I’ll just achieve… and then I’ll be happy”. Make sure that once you have accomplished what you set out to do, that you let yourself take a breath and enjoy the view before you set yourself a new goal.
Of course it’s good to have new dreams and hopes, or even multiple objectives that you are working towards, just make sure you are mindful about pacing your energy and high-fiving yourself as you go. We need to make sure we acknowledge all the little achievements, and on top of that, let’s really celebrate the great stuff that we make happen.
A good friend of mine recently pointed out to me that I wanted to earn money from these creative things, so if sometimes it feels like work, that’s okay, and even to be expected. That’s also why it’s more important than ever to make space for ‘downtime’ in my week.
As the want (and need) to slow life down is still as great as ever for me I have also been thinking about how the feeling of success fits into a slow living lifestyle.
My body is definitely craving some rest and rejuvenation after working really hard last year. I am really pleased with what I achieved in 2016 but I know I need to make some changes to my work life balance and how I approach things this year in order to feel happier and healthier.
You wouldn’t necessarily know it from reading my blog, but I can be quite an anxious person, and worry and stress about small details that aren’t really important in the grand scheme of things. Last year I pushed myself quite hard to step out of my comfort zone, and this year I would like to go a little easier on myself.
What I would really love to do in 2017 is be more lighthearted with everything. Life can be serious enough, so surely it make sense to keep things simple and find as much joy as possible. If I can gently build on my creative work and keep doing all the wonderful things that I am lucky enough to do, but approach them all with a more relaxed attitude I think that would be a great start.
The word I have chosen to help me with this is ‘ease’. By doing most of the tasks in my day with a care-free approach, it will help me just breathe out a little and skip through my days. It’s not that I want to find things easy, but I would love it if there was less stress and general anxiety surrounding me.
Stress and anxiety can creep into any area of your life, but for some there is an underlying anxiety that exists from an urgency to achieve and be successful. If you’ve ever felt like you’re hurrying to keep up, or that you’re not quite where you want to be perhaps you can identify with this. Rushing to reach your destination never helped you get there any quicker though, and that constant sense of haste is bound to be detrimental to your well-being. By slowing down, it will undoubtedly take the pressure off, and the more relaxed you can be whilst doing things the better. A slower rhythm will also help you become more aligned with the present moment, which in turn means you can find more joy and contentment with your current situation.
“Go easy on yourself. What ever you do today let it be enough.” ~ Tiny Buddha
Lastly, there is one particularly dark force that can hold you back from ever feeling successful; the need to prove yourself and your self-worth. I know lots of creative people that wrestle with this and hide it well. The problem is, it’s a never-ending quest. When will it all be enough? It’s like trying to fill a bucket full of holes with water… there’s no point in pouring the water in again and again until you’ve patched up all the gaps. Somehow you have to change your perception of yourself to know that you are already enough without needing to alter one single thing about you.
There’s quite a lot of information in this post so I thought a little re-cap would be helpful. Here are seven things to try to help you find that feeling of success the slow way…
7 secrets to success the slow way
- Be kinder to yourself, let go of unhelpful thoughts and self-doubt
- Don’t move the finish line mindlessly
- Celebrate all your victories and achievements (big and small)
- Make sure you schedule downtime to rest and recuperate
- Slow things down…. Why are you in such a hurry? Relax your attitude and take the pressure off
- Make space to find the contentment and joy with your present situation
- Stop trying to prove your worth… just accept you are enough
I have written this post as much for myself as for all of you. I could do with listening to all the advice above.
Do you have any nuggets of wisdom about success and how that feeds your happiness – I would love to hear them. Or have you picked a ‘word’ for 2017? What are you focusing on this year?