Success is Crippling

Success comes to us all in different ways. Relationships, careers, finances, hobbies, and personal growth can all be areas where success is recognized. Yet I have found that success rarely comes easily, and it normally arrives on the far side of overcoming uncertainty.

At the current moment in my life, I feel as if the entire world is about to open up. I own my own home, I am in a good relationship, and I am finally about to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree after years of struggle. The word success has come up often both in my own mind and in conversations with others.

“You own a house at your age? You must be successful!”

“Graduating college is such an incredible success.”

While I should be over the moon with joy at the personal success in my life, instead I more often than not find myself terrified. I feel imposter syndrome set in, I feel like I have to live up to my past success, and one-up myself in the areas I am known to be best at. This has led to a lifetime of never truly enjoying the success I do find in life, because I am immediately looking for the next step in that area.

However, what I am coming to find the older I get is that many of us are succeeding every day. We learn new, more effective ways to communicate with our kids, we decide to be kinder to the slow driver on the road, and we work to be kind and fulfilled.

All of these small stepping stones in life are successes, yet we often overlook them. This makes the “big” success steps seem overwhelming and life-altering, but I would argue that the smaller moments in life are the most life-changing.

Therefore, my goal as I come into graduation month is to not over-hype my success. Am I proud of what I have done? Absolutely. But this time, I will strive to not put pressure on myself to jump into the next large, public success. Instead, I would like to take a moment to focus on the small wins in each day, and how they all build on each other to truly change my life.

There will be more large milestones in my future, but I am not going to miss the millions of small ones in between.

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