Don't Pursue Success To Prove Something To Someone
"Go ahead and underestimate me. I'd love to prove you wrong."
Y'all seen this message out there?
I'm against it.
This attitude is NOT helpful to your success.
It's not really indicative of your confidence but a whiny retort from someone with a persecution complex.
My success used to be all about proving something to my mother. I doubt she's ever been proud of me because she never -- that I can remember -- communicated such feelings.
My "C" in 6th grade art wasn't good enough. (And then she went in and tried to demand the teacher change the grade.)
My speech I drafted to enter into the contest that chose the 8th grade Valedictorian wasn't good enough. (So she basically rewrote the whole thing and her speech won.)
My SAT scores (1830 out of 2400) weren't good enough. (Though I refused to retake the test as she wanted.)
My decision to be neutral during my parents' divorce was't good enough. (Which meant she felt threatened and, lashing out, effectively disowned me and threw me off of medical insurance.)
I'm not sure if she did her best as a parent or not, but even assuming she did, I felt like I never did anything right.
And so, for a while, I wanted to prove something to her or get her to finally, finally tell me she was really proud of me and to know she meant it.
That was a big driving force for pursuing journalism. She was an English major in college and has worked as an editor professionally. And so I thought if I wrote just the right thing for the right publication, she'd finally have the warm fuzzies for me.
At some point I realized how hollow it all was: chasing achievement to create feelings in someone else.
I know now that this means I was focused on the perceived lack of her pride in me and what happens when you focus on lack? You continue to see lack.
So yeah, nothing seemed to work. She may even have said "I'm proud of you" in what sounded like an offhand way and it meant so little. I was looking for some big explosion of the emotion and it was never gonna come.
So yeah, gradually or perhaps all in one moment, at SOME point, I shifted from wanting to make her proud to choosing to feel proud of myself.
I celebrated -- literally jumped for joy at times -- when I got a great assignment from an amazing publication, or when the check came in the mail.
Guess what? I started to actually enjoy moments along the way. Simple moments.
Like sitting in the tiny Green Line Cafe at a communal table, enjoying an iced Mocha, with my laptop before me. As I received an email response from an editor at Teen Vogue, I felt excitement and pride. I looked up and around, a smile spread wide across my face, wanting to tell the baristas and customers who I was. A journalist on the verge of bigshot success. Here I was, the woman I'd long wanted to be. (I didn't actually get an assignment from her, but it remains one of the simplest & coolest moments of my life.)
Like sitting with my Blackberry Bold on a folding chair outside of the polling place on Election Day, receiving and responding to emails related to my (unpaid) position as Books Editor at two.one.five magazine. I felt important, a leader, with an agenda and people working to make it happen.
Like running into Rite Aid and buying 6 copies of Philadelphia magazine because a pithy interview I did with a race car driver was the first page of the first section of the magazine. Telling the cashier I was buying so many copies because I was a journalist and I'd been published. (Not the first time I was published, but one of the cooler ones.)
Like being invited back to the home of a family that had lost its father to a senseless tragedy to hear from family members all about the joy and love he'd brought to their lives, and having my story run on the front page of two newspapers held by the same company.
These moments were amazing. And I alone felt their power. I did these things for ME.
While I'm no longer pursuing journalism (I have come to be very cynical about the cynical world of journalism), I carry these wonderful memories. And they're mine, untainted by anyone else's emotions.
This is what success must look like for you.
No attempting to prove anything to another, or to make them feel a certain way. This just spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
Let's examine it for a moment:
If you want to prove others wrong, how do you want them to feel? My guess: wrong, silly, embarrassed, ashamed, and maybe even jealous.
By focusing on wanting to prove others wrong, you are effectively focusing on these emotions. What do you get when you focus on feelings of wrong, silly, embarrassment, shame and jealousy?
You draw to you situations that make YOU feel this way.
I don't have an illustrative story to prove this point. I simply know it's true. And you're part of my tribe if you do too.
Even if you just want to make someone else feel good emotions about your success, you're focusing on the lack of those feelings you see in them. Just as, by wanting to make my mother proud, I kept thinking of how she wasn't proud. That just becomes too much to bear.
So please, do it for you.
Success is YOURS, and will be yours once you treat it like that.
And remember to look for the simple moments when you feel like "This is the woman I was always meant to be." Focusing on these moments is a way of practicing your desired vibration and many more like them will speed along into your life, bringing everything you've always desired.
Oh, and always trust-
Your truth unlocks a whole big crazy cool life. Share if you dare!
With fervent hopes you'll return the love (truth),