Monday, June 28, 2010

The Measure of Success

My husband and I stayed at the Dalhousie Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland last month (dream come true). I had a peek past the reception desk into the office, where a small sign was posted:

Success is not measured by the level you achieve, but the obstacles you overcame to reach it.

This reminded me of a conference I attended a couple of years ago where Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers, was a speaker. His book is a fascinating study in the benefit of having obstacles to overcome. Something he said really stuck with me: "Maybe it's harder to handle success if you come from success, rather than from adversity."

These are words of encouragement to me (and perhaps to you, as well) since I had unrealistic expectations of what the path to publication would look like. I was inspired by Diana Gabaldon and Stephenie Meyer (as I have mentioned before). Both of these ladies found a fast path to success with their first books. Why should I be any different, right?


It's been a torturous uphill journey, scattered with wonderful heartfelt comments from readers and devastating rejection from agents. It hasn't been what I'd expected at all. And I've felt like giving up. Maybe you have, too.

Sure, fast success would have been great, but would it have meant as much? What about the lessons I have learned about myself (and others) on this emotional path? I am the better for it, though a bit road weary. I have the power to choose what I consider success, and so do you! Choose joy and perseverance today!

"Up, down, up, down, life's like a jump rope"- Blue October


  1. "Maybe it's harder to handle success if you come from success, rather than from adversity."

    That is a great quotation and I agree that it is true. People who have had to work for their success undoubtedly enjoy itw hen they finally attain it so much more than those who were 'born into it,' so to speak.

    Great blog! Check mine out if you're interested :)

  2. I believe that we do appreciate what we have to work for. Sometimes things that are free or easy are not really what we wanted in the first place.

    Don't settle for anything less than your heart's desire.