By the time the first of the year rolls around, I’ve usually done a lot of goals-thinking.
I’ve done a lot of snacking on sweets, too, but I’ve found that thinking about goals requires serious chocolate nourishment as I’m sure you’ll agree. Anyway, this year was a bit different. I mean, I still enjoyed a ton of chocolate but the goals-thinking was lacking. Specifically, in the goals related to work, which for me is writing.
So I had to clean my desk to get everything ready for 2021 and whilst munching on my favorite candy, I came across my 2020 “Twelve Days of Christmas for Writers.” I’d diligently followed all of children’s author, Julie Hedlund’s posts; I’d completed all the exercises, too, and I was just about to toss it into the wastebasket when I stopped.
What had I been thinking back in 2020, during that first week full of hope and promises and dreams? And so I read—well, scanned the topics would be more accurate—and saw Surprises and Successes, Big, Fat Judgements, and Failures and Disappointments. There was a page of what I’d Learned and what my Heart Knows to be True, but I finished with an intentional read of all that I’m grateful for and that list—an entire page!—hadn’t changed much. All that I was thankful for then, I’m still thankful for now.
Thus cheered, I went back to take a closer look at my page of successes. I couldn’t recall 2019 being a banner year for success, but there it was, another whole page of writing-related success. What in the world had I found to write about?
I suppose by some standards, my successes in 2019 were not very remarkable…I completed a novel revision, had an editor request a manuscript, received a complimentary rejection, read 40+ books, regained some writing time when I stepped back from a volunteer position. But you know what? I felt pretty darn good about those successes then.
And here’s the real kicker: I could write the same list for 2020. For most of last year, I felt like a big, fat failure, and really, like a big, fat phony for calling myself a writer, but I could write the same exact list.
Yep, in 2020, I had several requests for a manuscript, and one very nice rejection. I read 50+ books, and regained even more time when I retired from another long-held volunteer position, and I even taught myself several new skills that I’d been wanting to learn for ages.
So then I decided to read what I’d written on the page titled, What my Heart Knows to be True. Maybe I’d find the secret to why 2019’s successes felt so much more…well, successful than this past year’s successes. And I think maybe I did find something in my scribblings: Success is not just about money.
Success is an attitude, a belief in one’s self. Success is progress, even when it may not look like progress to anyone else. Success is showing up, hanging in there, and try, try, trying again. Or it’s letting go to move in a different direction. At least, that’s what success is to me. And if there’s a secret to it, maybe it’s just remembering what our hearts know to be true, no matter what year it is.