I love me a good celebration and I’m thrilled to be celebrating the release of The Declaration of You, the lovechild of my beloved Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift. The book itself is a playful (and powerful) permission slip for readers to discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do. To celebrate, Mish and Jess have invited me (and 100 other creative bloggers) to take part of their The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour. We’re weighing in on enthusiasm, uniquity, intention, self-care, success, money, celebration and trust. Learn more by clicking here.
Lots of years ago, my now husband and I spent a fabulous weekend in NYC.
Martinis at the Paramount, reubens at Carnegie Deli, a Broadway Show (Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk), shopping at Century 21, Rock Centre and so on. An almost perfect weekend.
“Almost” because we missed hanging out in Greenwich Village.
Armed with a Mapquest print-out of Manhattan (uh huh, LOTS of years ago) we walked a route that looked (on paper) like we were in the heart of the action. We weren’t. The streets were quiet, the warehouses were black. It was a Sunday night, but still…given that this was purportedly the city that never sleeps, we were a little confused. Turns out, we were walking a street or two parallel to the Village. We figured it out eventually and wound our way to the tip of the Village, found a perfectly lovely place with outstanding reggae and ordered two Red Stripes, but we were tired and disappointed and beat a hasty retreat back to our hotel for our early flight home the next morning.
So, it was almost perfect. Like, 80% perfect...maybe 70%. 100% would have meant all landmarks were visited ‘n checked off the list.
It’s an expression we’ve oft used since then. “Feeling like you’re ‘Greenwich Village-ing”” has become synonymous with the feeling that you’re JUUUUUUST this side of something wonderful…like, say, success.
Ever felt like that? That your success is just a street or two over and you can’t quite figure out how to get there? Like you’re missing out?
Here’s where we went wrong.
1) Our definition of success in that instance was clear, but limited and narrow. “Hang out in Greenwich Village”. Nothing else would do. No room for error, no space for magic. Greenwich or bust. (We busted). Oh, the wonder of specificity.
Had our definition been a little more expansive, to include how we wanted the overall experience to FEEL, it might have looked more like “explore new parts of the city we may never see again in the hopes that we wind up in Greenwich, laugh and have fun being together and wind up somewhere, anywhere, listening to good music”. And yeah, we would have ACED that trip with 100%.
2) We had a story made up about success. And, to be honest, we didn’t really know what the story was. We had an unrealistic expectation of the splendours of Greenwich Village and once we got there, FINALLY got there, there’s no way it could have matched what we built up.
La grande métaphore du vie, non?
3) We didn’t set ourselves up for success. Given how attached we were to conquering the list, there are about 100 ways we could have made sure we got.it.right. We might have checked with the concierge before we headed out for Greenwich, or hired a driver, or (gasp) asked someone, or…
But that’s just not how we roll(ed).
And of course…
4) We were too attached to the one outcome. And we let our disappointment win. We allowed our perfect score of 100% to whittle down to 70% because of a cartographical misread. Madness, right? But here I am, close to 20 years later, telling you about the time we missed Greenwich Village. Boo. (And, really. First world problems much? Yeesh.)
So it's true. Your success IS just around the corner. Two streets away, max. You can feel its vibe. So, how do you get there, quickly?
Learn from me, will you?
- Define success for yourself. On your terms. But be discerning:: define it too narrowly and you may miss the honey of life. Define it too broadly and you may not have enough to actualize.
- Get your success story in order.
- Once you know what it looks like for you, set yourself up. Knowing how YOU roll is tantamount to success. Map it out. Get the support you need.
- Try not to be too attached to ONE outcome. Leave room for the dessert of serendipity.
- Appreciate what you have. Feel the privilege of your life as you sip your Red Stripe and listen to fabulous music with your one true love. Yeah.
And while we’re looking at success...
As you take a good and long look at how you define success, notice if a belief about it needing to be "hard" creeps in there. If you see:: hard = important. (This may show up in discounting your success if it has come too easily.)
OR notice if you have a belief that it MUST be easy. If you see:: easy = destiny. (This may show up if you often decide to abandon ship if things get too hard, meaning it "wasn't meant to be".)
Challenge both. Either way, call yourself out and face it. Success loves clarity.
So back to NYC. Here’s what we did right::
We learned from it.
We made it back to NYC this February. I was co-leading the Golden Ticket event with my girl Michelle Ward and brought my family. Our definition of success for this trip? See lots and have fun. This picture was taken after a day and a half of seeing the sights.
Guess where it was taken? Yup. Greenwich Village.
A final word about success.
While I clearly don’t prescribe looking to others to help you define success, I’ll make an exception for Emerson. This seems like a pretty worthy pursuit::
"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson