By Cynthia Herron
Today I wanted to approach the elephant in the room.
Because success is often a popular topic at writer’s meetings and conferences, obviously, it’s something that’s near and dear to our hearts. While most of us have varying opinions of what success looks like, we can probably agree on one thing. We wish we had more time. More time to realize our dreams and accomplish our goals. More time to write all the wonderful stories we’d like. More time to master success.
Here’s the reality.
There comes a point in life, maybe during a career crisis or a season of self-reflection, our confidence dips. Our belief wilts.
Is it too late?
Has my chance already come and gone?
Has the moment of opportunity slipped past, despite my desire to move forward?
For the baby boomer generation, advancing years are a reality. There’s no denying the clock’s steady beat. No getting around extended pauses.
Love it or hate it, those pauses impale our trajectory as time ticks away.
As we consider long-held goals, our sense of urgency mushrooms.
How’d it happen?
When did our hopes and dreams take a backseat to bigger musts?
Was it when we worked sixty-hour weeks to put bread on the table?
When we wiped snotty noses, sopped up potty, kissed boos-boos, and chauffeured kiddos?
Was it when catastrophe called and crises beckoned?
When normal met weird in a tug-of-war match?
All that and more.
While boomers may celebrate freedom from youthful constraints, new patterns emerge. We weigh new options and embrace or deny possibilities.
We move forward or stagnate.
We applaud the reasons we can.
We mourn reasons we can’t.
With quiet envy, we may see others meet and master similar goals we’d hoped to attain. Things we were certain, one day, would come to fruition for us, too.
The thing is success doesn’t always happen the perfect way we picture it. Sometimes, it’s messy and filled with faux pas. Sometimes, it’s poignant and achingly sweet.
Still, sometimes, success requires gut-wrenching lows to elevate to new highs.
And sometimes—yes, I’m going there—to truly know success we must grab hold with both hands and immerse ourselves in the glorious, painstaking, mud-filled journey.
Like age, success is relative. At the very least, it’s a milestone-marker. At best, it’s the reward for hard work expended—judged, perhaps, by the world, but only as significant as we, ourselves, allow it to be.
As millennials struggle with identities and self-reliance, their mamas and daddies who raised and loved them struggle with the opposite. We know who we are and what we’ve sacrificed…and we’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Success isn’t easily defined and contained within boundaries. It doesn’t tiptoe on our doorstep and ask, “May I come in?”
Often, success is subtler than that.
It sidles up beside us.
Then, it whispers, “I’m here. Will you join me?”
Suddenly, years melt away.
Yesterday’s behind us.
We’ve weathered storms. We’ve rallied.
We can’t turn back the clock, but we can reinvent it.
No longer are we slaves to archaic thinking and societal dictates.
Success hasn’t left us at the starting gate. It’s merely waited for us to catch up.
There it is now.
Grab your laptop, your chocolate, and your new way of thinking.
What does success look like to you?
What are you doing to accomplish that?
*As originally appeared on my blog.
Cynthia Herron writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. She is a 2017 ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2016 ACFW Genesis (Double) Finalist, and a 2015 ACFW First Impressions Winner. Her work is represented by Sarah Freese @ WordServe Literary. “Cindy” loves to connect with friends at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/
What an encouraging and thoughtful post Cynthia! For me, success will be to be published either in print or digitally. And along the way, have the ability to go to a few conferences and maybe pay for a few other business expenses! But real success will be when I can afford a Molly Maid! Can anyone else relate? I’m only half kidding there. And if that’s not what God has for me, I’ll consider myself successful if I self-publish too. But God hasn’t given my husband that same vision yet.
Cynthia, you touched the correct issue for me….a proud and happy member of the Baby Boomer group…..TIME! My journey has taken many of those pauses you mentioned as I moved from my first writing endeavor as a sixth-grader to a published short-story many decades later.
And I still want more TIME to write those even grander dreams of my heart. For me, success is moving forward, so I do feel successful…in many areas, even though I’m creeping along the path. Now I need to appreciate God’s timing and plan for my journey.
Thank you for your encouraging thoughts! Blessings to you on the successful journey He has designed for you!
Sherida, hear, hear! Keep moving forward, my friend!
God can change our course in a heartbeat. His timing is unmatched.
Thanks so much for your kind words!
Laurie, so glad these thoughts encouraged you!
Sometimes our “vision” of success is vastly different from God’s But whoa! When, in our brokenness and submission, we lay our desires at His feet, all bets are off. It might not be a Molly Maid, but it may be something that’s not even on your radar yet. 🙂
Cheering you on as you pursue your goals!
Yay Cynthia this is very encouraging!
Barbara, I’m so happy it encouraged you!
Thanks for your post. I have been in the “wilted mood” for the past two or three years. My occupation, the one that puts bread on the table, hit a grinding pause for a bit, so I am attempting to plug back into my occupation of the heart, writing. Just rejoining up with ACFW and praying and writing and learning once again, what our Lord might have in store and teaching me what success can look like.
Laura, I so understand those wilted seasons.
Hooray for a new mindset and a re-centered focus!Plugging back in with those things you love most is a fabulous reboot!
Cheering you on from the Ozarks!