Success is in your bones. That longing to be great at something comes naturally to you; you don’t have to muster it up.
Whether you want to be a great parent, an incredible baker, a renowned writer, or phenomenal at earning money, I bet there is something that you would like to be exceptional at, even if only in your wildest dreams.
If you don’t have any dreams, then probably you have squashed them away somewhere in fear that they won’t happen. But, in some shady corner inside of you, they are there, ready to be brought to life.
I want to be a great writer. I want people to enjoy and be encouraged by the words that I put on a page. I am plagued with doubt every single day about whether this could ever be. But I’m having a go regardless, and somewhere deep, very deep down, is a feeling that this dream will come to fruition. It is certainly tempting though, to crawl into a whole and give up. Choosing hope is rarely the easy option.
I believe that the desire for greatness and significance comes naturally to you and me because it is supposed to happen. Our dreams are not there to torment us; they are supposed to become a reality. Wow, that’s good news!
Why is it then, that we struggle to get to where we want to be, even if we give it our best shot? Why is the world strewn with broken dreams? Some of us might wonder whether aiming to be successful could even be a good thing, when we have seen people’s thirst for it destroy lives and lay waste to relationships.
The answer, is that most of us go about pursuing greatness and success in completely the wrong way.
Getting things in the wrong order
It is understandable why we make this mistake. It seems logical; in order to achieve something great, then we should set about making it happen with everything that we have, putting it first before all else. Because it’s a long, steep journey to the top of the mountain, wasting energy on anything but climbing is surely unwise.
The problem with this, is that if you pour everything into the struggle to produce success, you starve the very thing that has the potential to produce your breakthrough – your contentedness, your freedom. Your achievements are supposed to flow with ease out of who you are, without compromising your health or the quality of your relationships. You are not supposed to run yourself ragged and neglect loved ones in the pursuit of success.
Focusing all of your attention onto bringing dreams into being will, ironically, stunt your ability to do so. It’s true, you are likely to get somewhere, probably quite far. But in doing so you will dry up, and your relationships will suffer.
Here are two secrets to help you go the right way about being successful.
The first secret: Good things grow from good soil
Beautiful crops spring up from rich, watered, living soil that is packed full of nutrients that the plants need. Once a crop has grown and been harvested, the soil must be replenished of its nutrients. If this doesn’t happen, soil quality will decline, and in turn, the quality of the next crop. The soil must be cared for and fed to retain its fertility, in order to produce plants abounding in fruit.
To put success above all else, is to continue growing crops on the same soil, without investing in its quality. Eventually, the soil will become barren and infertile, and the crops will be weak.
If you want to be successful, the real goal to pursue is not success itself. The real goal, is to rest.
‘Did I hear you right?’ I hear you say. ‘How can I achieve anything by just lying back like a lazy bear?’
Rest is a very different thing to laziness. It is not passive. Rest is not something you should only be doing on a sunbed for 2 weeks of the year. Rest is a powerful lifestyle, out of which everything you are meant to do, your hopes and dreams, can grow and flourish. To produce something truly spectacular, you must invest in your soil – you must rest.
The trick, is that rest doesn’t come too easily. Fighting to rest is where the hard work comes in. To rest is to live with a sense of deep peace that is not changed by difficult circumstances. Apparently, this is not the experience of most people. Just under half of all adults in the UK feel stressed every single day of their lives, mostly about money and work.
A key way of starting to overcome stress and to rest, is to listen to the truth about yourself, rather than the lies that enter your head each day. Be diligent in reminding yourself of your qualities (don’t tell me you don’t have any – you do) and be disciplined in being kind to yourself. You are perfectly designed and valuable beyond measure. Living your purpose is supposed to flow out of you with grace not through straining hard. This can only happen when you begin enjoying being yourself – when you start to like yourself.
Another important way of enabling greatness to flow out of you with ease, is to invest in relationships and delight in those dear to you. You were designed for relationship with actual humans, and you can’t function without it. Put special relationships above success, and they will help you to achieve it.
If you fight to live in this place of peace and rest, you will live in greater freedom, and produce breathtaking things without the kind of effort that will kill you and your relationships.
The second secret: It was never meant for you anyway
This secret has liberated me considerably. The truth is that your skills are not for your benefit – they are intended for the good of the world. You are designed to flow like a river into the lives of people around you and beyond, and not go stagnant like a lake with no outflow.
Therefore, be generous with your gifts. Use your talents to add value to the lives of others. Give freely without expecting anything in return, and I guarantee that your capability will grow, and you will feel great.
So, enjoy resting! If you have stuffed your dreams in a cupboard, then dare to believe they are supposed to be followed and caught hold of. If you are working incessantly, stressed out of your mind to achieve, then stop. Let go. Start to put your own peace and your close relationships first. Keep walking towards your dreams, but let your effort be an overflow from a life full of good things, rather than a daily struggle for greatness.
If you have thoughts about this, I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment below, or send me a message! Keep being great.