7 secrets to success the slow way - 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’? Here are seven things to try to help you find that feeling of success the slow way...

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

  1. Be kinder to yourself, let go of unhelpful thoughts and self-doubt
  2. Don’t move the finish line mindlessly
  3. Celebrate all your victories and achievements (big and small)
  4. Make sure you schedule downtime to rest and recuperate
  5. Slow things down…. Why are you in such a hurry? Relax your attitude and take the pressure off
  6. Make space to find the contentment and joy with your present situation
  7. 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?

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  • Beach Hut Cook

    All great words of wisdom. I wish I could learn not to doubt myself. My latest YouTube videos are of me talking which is new for me and I’ve been keeping them to music only until now and I’m so worried they come across as silly! Silly, right? x

    • We all do it 🙂 Hopefully the more you talk on the YouTube videos the more natural it will feel. I bet, you’re brilliant at it, you’ve got such a lovely warm open personality, you just need to let everyone see the real you. <3

  • Beautiful post Melanie. For years I thought I wasn’t enough, and I wasn’t working hard enough to achieve what I wanted. It took a bit of a melt down, to actually see that what I had was more than enough, and now it’s good for me to spend a few days a week not working. I am more productive. I try to work 3 out of 5… and not sweat the rest. xxx

    • That sounds like a great balance Lou xx

  • Victoria Shaw

    I think for me its about accepting the now. At the moment I’m looking after an 18month old as well as her 3 young siblings and work from home as an editor. I get frustrated that I’m not able to achieve, or even start my ‘true goals’, but really what I am doing is enough – for the here and now. I want to be starting a blog, improving my photography, growing my ig, learning to knit, become an artist – forget the finishing line, I can’t even see the start line. But I’m learning to accept that right now I am enough.

    • You are in such a different season of your life Victoria to me. I would love to have a house full of little ones and if I did, there would be no way I could do all the things that I am currently doing. Enjoy your time with them whilst they are at home, and do what you can to support your creativity and fuel yourself, alongside being a mama. Soon enough you will have more time to dedicate to other things. XXx

  • Really interesting read Melanie and great tips. I know I’m bad about celebrating my achievements – always too quick to focus on the next thing. I often feel like I’m not doing enough or getting there quickly enough. My mantra for the year is “Just go at my own pace”. For me this is slooooow, and that’s fine. One thing that’s helped me is to think about what my definition of success is. I’ve been really busy lately and it reminded me that what I value most is to have space and time not to rush. I hate cramming things in and working to tight deadlines (I’ve done so much of that in the past). So success for me looks like time and space to create and improve what I’m doing, at my own pace. Including time to potter in the garden and feed the birds and walk Misty. I don’t want to have so much work on that I lose this space. But I would like/need to start generating some income! What’s your definition of success?

    • I love that Zoe! …That success means to you having time and space to create and go at your own pace – I think that’s brilliant. <3

  • catarina

    I loved this post, Melanie! Thank you so much for the reminder. I find myself so often doubting myself – as a creative, as a mother, as a person. And setting crazy goals! It did me good to read this <3

    • So pleased Catarina that it helped you. I will be coming back to read it myself when I need reminding 🙂

  • You’ve put your finger on what I’m doing right now … shifting my own finish line.

    Last year, when I was planning to self-publish my first book I told myself the achievement would be just getting it done, to a high quality. Now – almost 2 months on since the launch – I’m telling myself “Well, you now need to sell X amount more then you’ll have covered all your costs” and “And then you need to sell half your print run.” Like you say – we need goals (and I still want to do both of those things) but I need to put a marker down to record the achievements *so far*!

    Wishing you your ease this year.

    • Thanks Julie. High-fives to you for self-publishing your own book. They both sound like great goals to have, but yes, let yourself celebrate the work you have done so far 🙂 Best of luck

  • thankyou for the tips. i definately need to slow down and smell the roses myself. always in such a hurry i find it difficult to sleep at night….then up like a bull in a china shop the next day…thanks

    • Glad you found the post helpful 🙂 and good luck with your slowing down.

  • Dayana Gallegos

    It was refreshing as well as a relief to read this post. I’m a creative person and have always been hard on myself thinking o was just humble and a perfectionist. It’s nice knowing other artist struggle with feeling like they are enough. For the past year I’ve been struggling with anxiety from overworking myself and the definition of success. Lately it seems like the universe keeps pushing me to fix this, introducing me to: your post and website, Sas Petherick, books on finding your voice, how you are not what you earn, without knowing I just stumble across things that I need in my life. Anyways I found your words encouraging and look forward to incorporating slow living into my life.