So, I’m nearing the end of Jon Acuff’s Quitter and I came across the word “success”. The word in and of itself is unremarkable. It’s what we all strive toward in some fashion or another and when someone makes it into the big time, we all know what it looks like. However, I realized my definition of success is limited that of the macro variety. If someone isn’t internationally recognized, then they could be more successful. They aren’t successful enough.
The words “successful enough” are really my hang up with the idea of success. It doesn’t translate for me. I don’t have a category for that term. That’s probably because it’s intentionally not well defined. Or maybe it’s just been eroded by society over time.
Successful enough is dependent upon the individual. We each have to define with what level of success we are comfortable. This means that most likely we could become more successful, but we turn down that extra success because it is no longer worth the effort necessary to achieve it. For instance, I could try for that 100,000th reader (I wish), but if it means that I have to do so at the cost of giving up my last remaining waking moments to do so, then I would have to say I’d pass. That’s completely theoretical for me, but what does that look like for you?
You can’t define enough if you don’t know even what direction success is in for you. So, first of all, you have to decide in what you were created to be successful and obediently pursuing it actively (ahem). Jon (like I know him) uses the term platform to describe this essentially. Define your platform (your message and its intended recipients) and develop it. You have to know where you stand before you begin to reach beyond. If you have nothing to stand on, then…well, you’re just falling hopelessly through the ether. Sorry, but you definitely need something to help prop you up on this one.
You might have noticed the word risk I used earlier. In determining what success looks like for you, the risk involved in attaining your success also has to be mapped out. You have to sit down and determine how much risk is acceptable to you. Obviously, if you are risk averse, then your risk will be slightly less than someone who is more risk seeking. That being said, just because you are more comfortable with risk means you should accept any and all that is presented to you. At some point, you run into the law of diminishing returns and that risk is worth more than the reward sought.
No, I’m not naive enough to think that success doesn’t come without planning all these things out, but enough success is impossible without it. Sure, maybe you’re experiencing success right now, but your success will never be what you want it to be if you don’t take the time to figure out for yourself what is both attainable and desirable. Unchecked, your success can only become a burden, either underwhelming or overwhelming because the middle of the road doesn’t exist yet. Without planning, your success, current or future, can only disappoint you. Sorry to rain on your parade here.
Following your dreams and passions isn’t all fun and games. Otherwise, we’d never have dreams and aspirations. We’d merely have thoughts that we immediately put into action and we’d all be trillionaires at the very least. That’s not true and will hopefully never be true (what fun would life be then). The effort and the risk both make the pursuit of these things worth everything we give up in the process. If it’s truly your life calling, God will not forsake you, but it’s up to you to make the most of your time and pursue it wisely. Do yourself the favor and make a plan. Without it, you will find yourself no further down the road to your dream, frustrated and with less time to pursue it than what you started. Don’t be afraid of the risk; be aware. There will be surprises and there will be bumps, but you wouldn’t have started down this path were you not expecting some form of unknown. Embrace it and enjoy the ride.