“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” Herman Melville
For most of us, our life SHIPS haven’t always sailed smoothly. We’ve all, at some point in our lives, have had to navigate choppy waters and ride some turbulent-financial, employment, health, and various other waves. Through these experiences, we learned first hand that our best-laid plans CAN and WILL go awry and when this happens, sometimes it may leave us feeling like we’ve failed. Have you ever experienced that feeling? Are you where you think you should be in life? Is your life turning out according to YOUR plan? Mine isn’t.
Recently, a friend and I were having an honest conversation about life when I mentioned that I felt unsuccessfully successful. She was shocked. I explained that I thought I had positioned myself to be farther ahead of the game. I had graduated from college twice, worked a few good-paying jobs, attained a bunch of certifications, and thought by now, I’d be comfortably set. But, my plans sort of went awry. Because I was laid off and fired more times than I care to mention, I found myself constantly riding the unemployment wave. Let’s just say, my role model was Sally Jessy Raphael. Not because of her TV or radio shows but because she had been fired 18 times and bounced back each time with vigor. So she was my hero!!
Yet, it was during these periods of unemployment, that I realized that the measure of success wasn’t or shouldn’t be based on the amount of money one has acquired because success is soooo much more than that. In actuality, success SHOULD be measured by how much of ourselves we’ve poured into the lives of others, how we supported and encouraged others. In Hebrews 6:10, it says “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” So based on this, when I changed how I viewed and measured my personal and professional failures, they became my successes.
Now, my success could be measured by the random encounter I had in the mall with a young lady who in tears told me how the advice I’d shared helped her avoid life’s pitfalls and that she was graduating from college soon. My success could be measured by the number of families that were torn apart that I helped to reunify. My success could be measured by Ithe number of crack-addicted pregnant and parenting mothers that I encouraged to enter drug treatment. My success could be measured by the number of dropouts that dropped back in and earned their GED’s. My success could be measured by the number of gang bangers and felons that I’ve hired giving them their first jobs. My success could be measured by the number of “at-risk” young ladies who told me how my decision-making workshop changed their lives.
See failure was/is not an option for me and it shouldn’t be for you. The reality is that everyone that travels down the road of success in pursuit of their greatness WILL inevitably experience some type of failure. No exceptions. We just need to stop measuring our success with someone else’s ruler. It took me a while but I finally realized that my success was measurable by the amount of support and encouragement that I’ve poured into the lives of others and by using GOD’S measurements, I discovered that I AM and ALWAYS have been successful. So, the next time you feel UNSUCCESSFULLY SUCCESSFUL use GOD”S ruler to determine your success.
SHIP TALK: Have you ever felt like a failure? What changed?
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