HomeMission / PhilosophyAbout CoachingOverview of ProgramsWhole Life CoachingCareer CoachingCreativity & the ArtsWriting & PublishingpictureSpiritual CoachingMentor CoachingClasses & PresentationsClass ScheduleNewsletter - Living the Creative LifeProductsResourcesAbout SharonContact Sharon



Issue 49


In this issue ~~

* Positive Success

* Creative Tip

* Wise Words

* Bookshelf


Positive Success

Success is something a lot of us think about a lot of the time. We either have it or we don't (or at least we see it that way). If we have it, we want more. And if we don't, we wonder why. Certainly, there are issues that may block our success, but we also need to look at how much success we really want and how we want it.

Some of us may be looking for success in the wrong place. I recently heard a statistic that 80% of people are mis-employed -- in the wrong job. The media bombards us with messages about what success is supposed to be, and it's easy to make choices based on those messages. If your heart isn't in it, though, how much effort will you put into becoming more successful? Even if you manage to do it for awhile, at some point, you'll hit a wall. And success at something that you don't enjoy isn't success at all.

We may feel unworthy of our success. In his book, Lucky Man, actor Michael J. Fox talks about how, when success hit for him so quickly, he feared that people would discover he was still this kid from Canada, faking his way. We become afraid that success will require more of us than we're capable of producing. And at the same time, we fear losing it.

We may fear the demands success places on us and feel we can't keep it up. When we succeed at something, people expect that we will surpass ourselves with even greater successes, and our superiors or our public may demand that of us. Some people have great success early in their lives – I had a college friend who had been a successful child actor and felt like a has-been at 18 (he went on to success in other areas). In David Auburn's play Proof, the main character talks about how most mathematicians make their greatest discoveries in their 20s. Other people have a great success later in life, but don't feel they have the time or energy to do it again. It becomes important to find other ways to define success for yourself (we'll do that soon).

We may feel undeserving of our success and all that comes with it. Most of us have been trained to expect the worst, or feel guilty when good things happen for us, and when things go well, we wait for the other shoe to drop. In Arthur Miller's play, The Man Who Had All the Luck, the protagonist continually finds himself falling into good luck. Ironically, one of the endings Miller initially contemplated was the hero committing suicide because he felt he was at the mercy of his luck, with no control over how and when it happened. Happily, he chose instead to have our hero pulls himself out of a jam with his own foresight, thereby restoring some sense of order and control to his world and the ability to accept his good luck.

We may feel comfortable with our current position in life and uncomfortable with the changes that success will bring about. We fear that if we're successful, the people that care about us will become jealous and reject us or that we'll leave them behind. We may have relationships based on commiserating about our lack of success, and if we succeed, those relationships will likely end. We're afraid that success will change our lives too much or too fast, and we'll be left alone.

So much for the bad news. Now, on to the good. Success comes in a lot of shapes and sizes, and there are ways we can prepare ourselves for it and make it a positive experience.

~ First, make sure you're on the right road. If you're doing something you hate, get some books or talk to a career coach or counselor to see what else you might do that would be more satisfying to you. It's not uncommon to fall into a career path and stay there because it's easy. Take the time to consciously choose the path you want to follow. That may turn out to be several paths over a lifetime, or even simultaneously. No one says you can only have one career!

~ Make sure that what you're doing is aligned with your personal values. When I worked in advertising, I enjoyed the creative atmosphere, but I just couldn't get bent out of shape about how many donuts we sold the way some of my coworkers did. Instead, I focused on bringing service, excellence and creativity to my work. It's important to feel that your work matters. If you're not getting that validation from your supervisors, find a way to make it matter in terms of your own personal and professional growth, in a way that satisfies you.

~ Set your own standards. Strive for personal excellence rather than trying to keep up with others. Find ways to challenge yourself and keep it interesting. That may even mean starting on the bottom rung of a new career. Compared to your peers, you will be less successful, but in terms of your own life path, facing that new challenge may be your greatest success.

~ Decide what you want your life to be about. If it's your work, then you may want to sink a lot of yourself into it. If time with family, your creative pursuits outside work or just enjoying life are more important, you may be very content climbing halfway up the corporate ladder, working in a fun, but lower-paying job or having your own small business, rather than aiming for the top. Write a personal mission statement to keep you focused on what's important to you. Try the Mission Formulator at www.franklincovey.com (click on Solutions for You, mission formulator).

~ Look at what skills you enjoy using. How can you use more of them in and out of your job? Often, someone who is very skilled at what they do is promoted to management, where they no longer get to use those skills. You may choose a lower-level position where you can continue to do what you love rather than a higher position, and more money, to do something that doesn't satisfy you.

~ Plan for your success. Think about where you would ideally like to be in 5, 10, 20 years. What do you need to do to make that happen? Take things a step at a time. Prepare yourself for your next career move, whether that means acquiring new skills, discovering a new career or planning your own business.

~ Think about the quality of your success. Are the money, possessions and status worth it if you compromise your integrity, your relationships or your health? The current collapse of so many corrupt corporations is showing us that success without integrity can be a straw house.

~ As you change, your relationships will change. If you change careers, you'll be spending time with a whole different group of people. As you become more aligned with your values, some of your friendships will fall away. Grieve the loss, and be open to new people, more attuned to who you're becoming, coming into your life.

~ Look for role models, people who you truly admire. What is it about them that you admire? Where do you see that quality in yourself, and how can you bring about more of it? How can you bring those qualities into your pursuit of success?

~ Remember, too, that everyone has their own timing. Some people are high-energy and very confident, and they can advance very quickly. Others need time to adjust, to plan, to move through transitions. Honor your own tempo, and don't compare yourself to others.

Decide for yourself what success means to you; it's a very individual thing. Having all the trappings of success is empty if it doesn't feel good inside. And remember that success is a quality, not a quantity. It's about how it makes you feel inside.

Having success on your own terms doesn't mean it will always be smooth sailing, but when you're following your heart, facing the challenges will feel exhilarating and worth the effort.



Creative Tip

To see if a particular activity feels good to you (and is, therefore, a candidate for positive success), get quiet and relaxed, then think about that activity. How does your body feel? Do you feel open and excited, or tense and constricted? If it's the latter, you might want to think more deeply about whether this is something you want to pursue further.


Wise Words

"That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by a perfect poem or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it, who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had."

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

"Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral. The size of the project means little in art, beyond the money matter. It is the quality of the character that really counts."

~ Frank Lloyd Wright

"Trying to do well and trying to beat others are two different things. Excellence and victory are conceptually distinct . . . and are experienced differently."

~ Alfie Kohn

"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."

~ Maya Angelou




(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)

What Matters Most: The Power of Living Your Values . . . Hyrum W. Smith, Ken Blanchard

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values . . . Robert M. Pirsig

The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth . . . M. Scott Peck

Manifesting Your Desires: How to Apply Timeless Spiritual Truths to Achieve Fulfillment . . . Victoria Loveland-Coen

10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace . . . Wayne Dyer

Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out . . . Phillip C. McGraw, PhD



© 2002 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.

 Next Issue  Previous Issue



Books and tapes listed in the Bookshelf section of each newsletter can be ordered from Amazon.com. To go to a specific book's page on the Amazon site, click on the book or tape icon next to each title.

Click on the graphic left for a message from Amazon's president.






Home | Mission/Philosophy | About Sharon | Contact Sharon
About Coaching | Overview of Programs | Whole Life Coaching
Career Coaching | The Life Purpose Process© | Retirement Coaching

Creativity & the Arts | Writing & Publishing
"Tortoises" | Spiritual Coaching | Mentor Coaching
Classes & Presentations | Schedule
Newsletter: "Living the Creative Life" | Products | Resources

© 1999 - 2014 Sharon Good. All rights in all media reserved.