“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.“
— Golda Meir
Photos courtesy of Heidi of Wishes & Reality
For most of my life I’ve been a chronic over-achiever.
I was valedictorian in high school. As well as a state-ranked badminton player and flutist.
I graduated college with major honors (and was 2 classes away from completing TWO more majors) all while dealing with my father’s heart attack, stroke, and eventual cancer.
I started a successful career in finance and passed my broker license at 22.
But as soon as I paid my student loans off (by age 24! Still very proud of that!), I knew I had to make some changes to my life. I’d achieved a lot, despite my family tragedies, and yet everything felt so one-dimensional.
I wasn’t fanning the “tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement”, as Golda Meir would say.
I was achieving but only what I thought I should achieve. Graduate high school? Check. Graduate college on time? Check. Get a job with health insurance? Check. Adopt a crazy dog? Check. Meet and marry a man who I’m head-over-heels for? Check and CHECK!
But much of my creative spirit felt empty. My father and I had successfully ran a photography business together for four years before his death and I missed the rush of creative energy I used to get shooting with him. I felt lost and confused about my purpose.
But now I’m a blogger and a photographer. Each and every day I can come to this website and make it whatever I want to. I LOVE the rush of creating content I love or an outfit I’m really excited about. It feels so good to be creating again.
But the worst part about working for yourself, especially as a blogger, is analyzing your achievements. There are no end-of-year reviews (with bonuses… man do I miss annual bonuses!). There’s hardly any feedback (unless internet trolling counts as feedback). And there’s almost no basis of comparison you can do with other bloggers than won’t inevitably lead to feelings of inadequacy or comparison (the main reason I prefer to ignore what others around me are doing most of the time).
Most of my life I’ve spent achieving what I thought was expected of me — what I thought I should achieve.
But now that I have this blog, I’m realizing that achievements in my life now are unknowns. I no longer have a blueprint for what success as a blogger looks like. Sure I can look at professional, successful bloggers as a guide. But I KNOW that my success won’t likely mirror theirs. My success must be my own. And while I sometimes have a hard time dealing with so few established benchmarks of success in my new industry, I’m learning that all I can really do is trust myself and my instincts.
Success comes in many shapes and forms. It comes in happiness, in wealth, in overcoming obstacles, and in strong relationships with good people.
But most of all success comes from within. From your fierce determination to not let life knock you down.
Trust yourself. Trust that your achievements will start slowly, like a spark in a fire. Trust that doing the things that make you happy will lead to success — even if it’s not the kind of success you originally envisioned.