You have to grow into your success. I have to admit, if someone had told me this I probably would have reacted badly. Okay, more than badly; I may considered having a tantrum, even if only mentally. Why? Well, I felt I was ready for the success I had aimed for. I felt I had put in my time, paid my dues. Apparently, life felt differently.
Our society tends to infantize adolescents and even those in college and newly graduated, too often dismissing their experience and ability. Turning 18 only means one can legally skip high school without a note from their parents or they can vote. Turning 21 simply means you can legally drink. Graduating from college means you are in a position to get a job and start all over again, working your way up and through.
(I won’t even go into what happens when starting over in a new career)
The truth is, however, we do have to grow into our success. If someone handed it to us we would likely lose it, and quite quickly. Not because we didn’t have a piece of paper that said we were entitled to hold the job we’ve found but because we are still missing an even more valuable piece of education; experience.
With experience comes better judgment. This enables us to not only hold onto the success we have obtained to that point, it allows us to build on it. The cool thing about experience is it keeps happening. You don’t even have to try, you just have to live. If you let it, it will hone you and help move you toward your goals.
If you are like me and you want to shortcut your way around that in your haste to accomplish your goals, seek out someone who has that experience. Let them share with you the pitfalls they faced. Trust me, you will face plenty of your own even if you are wise enough to acknowledge theirs and not repeat them.
I remember the day I realized people were sharing information with me, not so they could tell me what to do but so they could help me avoid some of the painful mistakes they had made. It was the day my youthful chip came off my shoulder. I think I was about 19. Life had knocked me around sufficiently that I was ready to listen.
So be prepared to grow into who you are becoming and know that no matter how hard you try, life will set the pace, not you. Go with the flow of that and it will be easier.
It may look different but it’s still success…
Think back to when you were 7 years old. What was important to you? What did you want to be when you grew up? Where would you live? What about when you were 15? At 15, you were probably focused on getting your driver’s license, followed by a car. You probably even
decided what car you wanted. You knew the color, what options, and numerous details. Perhaps you even had a poster of said vehicle on your bedroom wall.
Let’s say you got the car. You realize you wished you had chosen a different option and you weren’t using some of the ones you originally thought were important.
This is a good metaphor for all our life’s goals. We get what we thought we wanted and perhaps it is everything we thought it would be. However, even if we are enjoying our goals we may realize that we’ve already outgrown them. We are already realizing that some of what we thought we wanted or needed isn’t so necessary or important after all.
Or perhaps we realize we should have included some other features because it turns out we’re in trouble without them.
To me, this is that experience that helps us make better decisions which take us closer to our goals. If we go with the flow, remain flexible, allow life to help us steer, we may one day look around and see that while it isn’t exactly what we had envisioned, we have indeed arrived; we have success.