Success When You Feel Like a Failure

Maybe it's because I have perfectionist tendencies. Maybe it's because I'm a people-pleaser at heart. Maybe it's because nothing but being #1 is good enough.

But I feel like a failure a lot of the time.

This is contrary to what others see about me. I am actually pretty accomplished. Not counting this blog (which, to date, has over 150 posts), I have had over 250 distinct articles published from 1-4 times each. I have literally had close to or more than 1,000 photos published. My stories are published in three books. 

I have interviewed and/or taken photos of some big names such as Darcy Lynn, America's Got Talent winner; Ginger Duggar Vuolo of 19 Kids and Counting; Michael Jr, headlining comedian; Francine Rivers, best-selling author; and Jon Erwin, producer/director of American Underdog as well as many other high-grossing movies. I've covered major events like the K-Love Fan Awards weekend; major and minor sports leagues; IndyCar and NASCAR; and the 2019 Southern Baptist National Convention. 

Even with all these - as well as many other successes - in my 55-year life, I STILL feel like a failure the majority of the time.

However... one thing I'm trying really hard to learn is that the biggest successes can come out of the little things, especially if you have mental and/or physical issues that you have to overcome.

Here are some examples:

- There is a monthly meeting I try to attend, basically a networking and sharing event for women of purpose. It's on the second floor of an office building - and stairs are the only way to access the room where it's held. 

I have a phobia about stairs. I have a worse phobia about open stairs. Add to that, the stairs are outdoors, where rain or dew makes them even scarier.

The first time I went to this meeting, it took EVERYTHING in me to get up those stairs. I literally shook for more than half of the meeting. But I made it. 

THAT'S a success.

(After attending several times, it's getting easier, but it's still rough every time.)

- Because of having Bipolar Disorder, Type 2, there are days that I literally have a hard time not talking (it's a weird feeling to not be able to stop even when you want to). There are other days that I have a hard time talking at all.

In the past, I have tried to hide this struggle. However, recently in events such as the one I just mentioned, when I introduce myself I try to be transparent about this issue. 

In a place where it feels like everyone else attending has everything together except for me, sharing something that can be considered a major defect is difficult, to say the least.

But the first time I did it, so many came up to me afterward and congratulated me on being vulnerable and authentic.

That's ANOTHER success.

- I am very overweight. It's something I've tried to fix my entire life and finally, I decided it couldn't be changed for whatever reason, and I've been trying to come to peace with it.

However, I know that I still need to eat to be healthier, even if I never lose a pound. Like most people, especially women (stereotypical, I know, but I feel it's still true), I sometimes crave chocolate. And as a food addict, when I crave something, it's especially hard to avoid giving in.

One of my favorite ways to indulge is a Smoky Mountain Fudge milkshake from Jack's (a fast food chain in the South). In fact, in the past, the majority of times I have passed a Jack's, I have to fight with myself to not run through the drive-through.

However, lately when I've been really, really craving one of those wonderful milkshakes, I would just about be drooling by the time I got to my local Jack's - only to find out there was a long line in the drive-through. Instead of getting in line, I would decide that it wasn't worth it.

Now, that might be a normal response for a neurotypical, one who doesn't deal with food addiction, but for me, that was not what I would typically do. 

The scenario with the long line happened the next few times I wanted one.

Now, I drive past Jack's either without thinking about the milkshake at all or I can dismiss the thought without the fight.

This is  DEFINITELY a success.

In every one of these scenarios, I felt like a total failure the first time (or multiple times) I tried to change. But these types of successes, over time, will actually do more to impact my life for the good than the big ones - the awards, the photos and articles being published, and other accolades. 

Let's celebrate all successes, even the ones that may seem insignificant at the time.


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