Recently, I shared with a friend that people who watch my achievements on the surface have the misconception that the titles etc. are the best part of my successes. What many people don't see behind closed doors is the emotional downfall (for the lack of a better word) that I sometimes experience after attaining these achievements. It is like climbing a mountain, reaching the top, and going back down. Sometimes, I don't even get excited the way I am supposed to when there is another achievement.
It is not that I don't appreciate all the goodness that's coming my way but because I understand my human nature of a constant thirst for new things and more, in addition to knowing that success is a journey, not a destination. Knowing that after each achievement, I will begin to thirst for something new impacts my emotional response.
Realizing that success is the pursuit and not just the attained goal, has forced me to accept that failure in itself isn't the lack of achieving the goal. So failure to me has become "not trying when I could have had a shot" and "not thriving progressively when I miss the shot."
I remember, in the last semester, during the midterms, I had gotten a 60 something percent in one of my classes. This is the first time I had gotten anything below 85% in the last three years straight in college. I remember sharing with my friends the feeling of joy and relief that I had finally gotten a low grade for the first time in forever. My happiness about the bad situation reemphasized my new awareness of failure. I was happy because something in me was enjoying the challenge, the bent roads, and journey, while I had gotten bored of simply just obtaining a goal. I knew deep within that the badass nerd in me would still get an A in the class by the end of the semester, but I was more turned on by having to do more and work differently to attain the goal.
Similarly, in my writing, there is the assumption that publishing the book is the best part... but then the question I challenge writers interested in self-publishing to think of is "what next?" Not to kill the joy and excitement of the moment but I hope that you can keep that same energy in doing continuous book promotions for sustainable book sales. Personally, after publishing a book, I have writer's block for months. So while planning, the challenge and success for me is not only publishing the book but feeling like a writer again and falling into the necessary zone to write new materials or explore new things after “the high” or releasing a book passes.
This renewed thinking within me has also let me realize the closest friends and appreciate them differently. I have developed a deeper appreciation for people who continually cheer for me in my becoming. People who don't wait until that one big thing happens before they tell me that they acknowledge my work and that I am doing a great job. People who are there to fire me up again, after the one big moment, and in that space of vulnerability where I could fall victim of feeling empty again.
If success is not just getting the shot, then failure isn't missing it either. Success is trying, it is the journey and thriving after.