We often talk about the dangers of comparison here at CGD, I personally fell victim to this a lot growing up, I was so jealous of everybody around me because I didn’t have any self-esteem or self-worth, which is a common thing for young girls who are desperate to fit in and scared of the future. When you don’t value yourself it’s so easy for others to do the same, and when you measure your success by what other people are doing it’s easy to feel lost. Here’s why it’s so important to define your own success and ignore what everyone else is doing!
What is success?
The definition of success is ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose’. But for some reason when we talk about success and successful people we think that success means money, fame, an amazing career a great house and perfect hair. Those things are unattainable.
I used to compare myself to my Uni friends and feel so useless when they were getting tonnes of experience at national magazines and publications, even when blogging (which was a hobby of mine) I would look at successful blogs and try to implement one or two things that they did, which meant I eventually lost my own sense of self. Half of the things my Uni friends were doing I wouldn’t have wanted to do anyway, but I just felt like life was some kind of competition that I was losing at. Even now, I’m constantly comparing the way I look and my weight with everybody around me. It’s so hard to snap out of the habit of comparison.
When were you last successful?
I know you’re trying to think of a time when people stood around and applauded you and told you how great you were, but that’s not what I mean. Being successful means accomplishing something you set your mind to. So think about even those little things, ‘I didn’t have a McDonald’s in my lunch break’, for example. If you start logging the little successes, you’ll realise that you’re much more of a badass than you thought you were. You’re doing things successfully every day, like getting dressed and not leaving the house with your pants tucked into your skirt (thanks again to the two ladies who alerted me to that fact on my way out the door!)
If you think counting up little successes is a waste of time, then you probably won’t know what to do when a big success comes around the corner. I mean, we won Best Life Improvement Blog in the Bloglovin’ Awards 2015. An astounding success for all of us, and we worked so hard to achieve it, but if I was asked about success, I’d probably just give a blank look and dribble a little bit while the cogs in my brain turned. I consider these things a group success and never look at it from a personal perspective. Even when I graduated I didn’t particularly feel like it was a success because everybody does it and the end goal of your degree is ultimately graduation, isn’t it? Praising yourself every once and a while allows you to really enjoy the things you’ve put hard work into.
How do you define success?
You probably define success by what you see on social media right now. I did, too. I’d bubble with envy at friends with great shoes who were doing things I could only dream of, and ultimately it led me to do things I didn’t really believe in. For example, I applied for a Masters degree in Creative Writing. Which would have been so fun, but I don’t know whether it would have been productive for me. I can’t guarantee I would have wholeheartedly done the work at this point in my life, and although they wanted me to reapply I decided to just get stuck in with other stuff.
I hear from my friends all the time that they need to ‘sort their lives out’ and they ‘don’t know what they’re doing with themselves’. The funny thing about that is all of my friends have one huge success that comes to mind now when I picture them, but they’d probably be super surprised to hear that I consider them successful. Maybe you should ask your friends and family what your successes are, you might be surprised!
Why you need to define success for your career.
So if success only means wealth and promotions, you’ll never be fulfilled in your career. You can always be more wealthy, and in a company there will always be a position you want. By defining success as something achievable, and something that you already have, you’ll be more confident in selling your abilities to employers, more confident in the job you’re currently doing and have more enthusiasm in yourself.
You can start a journal or a document that collects praise you’ve received. Paste complimentary emails, praise, great references and anything else that will remind you that you’re successful. Any time someone comes to you with advice about something, it’s because they think you’re successful at it. Look at this journal anytime you need a boost of positivity, just don’t get a big ego.