How do You Define Success?

I’m one of those people who constantly doubts myself. I make decisive actions and don’t regret my choices, but I do doubt my capabilities. Do you do that?

When I release a book (I’ve released around 42 now), I have to hurry and hit publish, then walk away. Because I’m not only an author, I’m also a reader and I’m human and I compare. I constantly compare myself to other authors and let me tell you. In my mind, I come up short.
 

Isn’t that crazy? That I come up short in MY OWN MIND. Me. The one person who should love me the bestest doubts me the mostest! (Yes, not the best words, and yet, I know you get it.)

 

When I have a pep talk with myself, it sounds like this:

Me: You’re doing great.

Me: No, I could do better.

Me: Stop. What more do you expect from yourself besides your best?

Me: Greatness.

And yet, who determines that? Who determines my success or failure?

Me. And I’m the worst judge there is.

I started this journey back in 2007. My first book was published in 2009. My second in 2011. Then I started down the indie road. And that has been the greatest adventure.

My reviews have been great. I love the positive and negative ones. I’ve had tremendous reviews from both ends of the spectrum and I’m grateful for all of them.

And my income has been satisfying – but not at first. Want to see some numbers? I’m very private, so this is really difficult for me to do. But I’ve had a lot of people say, well, you’re not making it unless you make it onto a List or you’re making $12,000 a month or more.

And I have to tell you that… I used to believe that. I used to believe that other people’s standards determined my happiness. Determined my success or failure scale. But I just saw a panel that was being offered in a pretty big class and the author stated that she was making 3 to 4,000 dollars a month – and that is success.

Um, hey, wait a minute! I make that on my low months. That’s my low month. I can’t believe I can type that. I didn’t start making more than $200 a month until May of LAST YEAR. 2014.

And contrary to what a person in my RWA group said, I started making this BEFORE Bookbub. Although, I did have tremendous success with my BB ad (and I continue to do so because it’s an amazing service). I want to make sure that is clear. (An aside, at the time, her comment really bummed me out. But now I can look back and say, that’s okay. I know she’s coming from a strictly traditional supporting POV and I’m a hybrid.)

Wow, I didn’t see any sort of incline in sales until I’d been writing 7 SEVEN years. We read all the time about authors that did it in one year or two years. Or whatever. I’ve been doing this seven or eight years now.

I’ve been doing this for so long. I’ve seen the “one hit wonders” pop up and I know secretly that they have worked their butts off and we’re just now hearing about them – they’re making $20k+ a month, or whatever – which is awesome.

Here’s where my pride takes a hit. Jealousy. It’s ugly. But where most people wanted the successful to fall, I didn’t want that. All I wanted was to be there, too. And the fact that I wasn’t, bummed me out. Big time. Cramping my productivity. Ever gotten like that? There were “so many big authors” that it made me feel like I was doing something wrong.

Why was I immediately assuming I was doing something wrong? How about, I was traveling my own path, learning at my own pace, becoming my own author, finding my own voice, being me?

But before, I used to focus on what they were making and how I wasn’t measuring up. Now, I compare myself to myself. Where I am now compared to last year and the year before and the year before and the year before – because I’ve been doing this a LONG TIME – and the year before is gradually getting better and better.

I’m growing as an author, a writer, a business woman, a teacher, a critique partner, a formatter, a “boss”, a mom, a wife, a “whatever hat I have on at the moment”.

That is true success. To me. My continued learning. My continued development. My SELF GROWTH. My level of gratitude.

BECAUSE I’M SO GRATEFUL. IT’S OVERFLOWING. IT’S ALL-CONSUMING. AND I DON’T SAY IT ENOUGH.

You know what? I think my favorite part of this entire job is the people. I meet so many great people. I get to talk with my newsletter recipients (my Survivors) and we have some great discussions.

I get to meet so many people on FB. I’m working toward including Twitter in my relationship building, but I’m focusing mostly on Newsletter and FB because I understand them, the ideal and theory behind them. I can’t wait to start the conferences and meeting people that way.

I couldn’t do this without the readers. Or the people on my team. Or any of the support. Or any of the other voices in my head.

But to everyone who has a part in this crazy ride of mine, I want you to know you ARE APPRECIATED.

I’m grateful. So grateful.

Thank you. Such simple words which don’t even grasp or convey the depth of my feelings. My emotions that well inside me until I tear up. I’m so grateful.

I’m grateful for you.

Thank you. And I hope you feel a little bit better wherever you are in the journey you’re on, in whatever industry or path you’re following.

Because you’re doing awesome. You’re amazing. And we can’t run someone else’s race. We can only run our own. Alongside each other.

WON’T YOU RUN WITH ME AND SHARE YOUR STORY?

What do you define as success and have you shared your gratitude today?

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  • I’m feeling good about my journey, now, Just knowing that you, wonder woman have been plagued by doubts, has turned down the volume of my own. I wear different hats, and although I want to grow some areas of my life, I like the fit oft all of them. Well, except for housewife, that hat smashes my brain, but until I reach the place that I can pay someone to clean for me, I’ll have to keep wearing it, abet reluctantly. I’m looking forward to delving into these courses; trying to figure out what I needed to do was overwhelming me, paralyzing me. Your course is an answer to the prayer in my heart. Thank you.