Would you rather be...
A. 25 years old, have achieved all of your goals and then never have any other goals to achieve after that
B. Be 80 years old, having spent your life both succeeding and failing at many things and still with more things you'd like to achieve
One trait that I've noticed in a lot of people and particularly in entrepreneurs is that we put so much pressure on ourselves to achieve so many things in an unrealistic time frame. I've had a huge shift in mindset about success and business over the past 2 years but even writing this blog post, it dawned on me that I'm only 26. Meaning I only left high school 10 years ago. As someone who always knew they wanted to work for themselves, I expected my life to look very different at 26 and I really thought I would be able to say I've 'made it' by now.
Now, the idea of saying 'I made it' really makes me laugh (even more than 13 year old me planing to get a paper round and save up for 3 years to move to LA when finished school at 16). If you ever meet anyone that tells you they've made it then don't ever go to them for advise. Because the biggest mindset change I had was the realisation that there's no such thing as making it. Not in the sense of 'making it' one time and then you'll be set for life anyway.
This was the mindset that had kept me on a miserable hamster wheel chasing success for so many years and now I can happily say I hopped off the hamster wheel and into real life – not just chasing the glamorous life full of achievements.
Success: The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
Success isn't a destination – it's a mindset & a lifestyle
If success is the accomplishment of an aim then why do so many of us think about success like it's some kind of nirvana that once you do X, Y and Z you're initiated into some success club for life? This ideology will have you giving up, maybe not after the first hurdle, but probably after the second or third. Success is like fitness. There's no overnight fix, no secret that's being kept from you – fitness is a lifestyle. It's the right habits implemented over a significant period of time. And then once you reach your fitness goals, you need to maintain them usually by carrying on the same habits. The work is never done. Success is exactly the same.
I've come to the conclusion that this is why even when a lot of people achieve their goals, they still aren't satisfied. So a lot of people put their attention to the next goal, thinking that will give them the sense of satisfaction they're looking for but the cycle continues. They end up exactly like I was, frustrated and burnt out. It sounds really cliché but to me, a happy life is a successful life. This means finding a balance of celebrating what you've already achieved, what you're on the way to achieving and also celebrate just being alive. We aren't just here to tick off a list off achievements. Once you start enjoying the whole journey you will have so much more clarity on where you're going and that is where the real satisfaction and feeling of success is. The success isn't at the top of the mountain, it's during the climb.
Get comfortable failing
This huge realisation that success is really a journey and not something that we only have one shot at has allowed me to stop putting so much pressure on myself – particularly the huge fear of failure. Fear of failure has robbed me of so many opportunities that I was too scared to take and kept me prisoner in my comfort zone.
Nobody wants to fail but if success isn't the final destination then neither is failure. Failure is not the opposite of success, it's part of it so if you spend your life hiding from failure then you're hiding from success too. In most situations, if you actually weigh up what the worst possible outcome could be, it's never usually that bad. Someone might say no or laugh at you, you might lose some money. Oh well.
Children are the best teachers when it comes to failure. When a baby is learning to walk they fall down so many times before they finally get the hang of it. Children will spend hours and hours practising a dance routine or football practice because they aren't as easily disheartened and we encourage them to keep going. If we all spoke to ourself the same way we would speak to a child, we would achieve so much more and enjoy life more – which is the whole point!
Multi-billionaire and founder of the Virgin brand, Sir Richard Branson has started at least 100 businesses since he was 16. At least 15 of those have failed. That doesn't make him a failure. The Wright brothers (the inventors of the first successful aeroplane) had seven failed attempts before their first successful flight. You can't learn to drive in a parked car. Failure will teach you far more than instant success ever will so embrace it.
Nobody is born destined for success
I've noticed that so often we go beyond admiring and celebrating strangers achievements and instead end up turning them into idols and convince ourself that these people have something we don't – which keeps us on the hamster-wheel.
Beyonce rehearsed for 8 months for her legendary Coachella performance despite already being considered one of the greatest performers of all time. The greatest sports people don't just turn up on match day and win – they still have to train every day. People who achieve a lot in life aren't born under a lucky star with magic powers. Most of them have spent their life perfecting their craft, improving and expanding their knowledge.
Anyone who thinks they know all there is to know, actually knows very little. So the next time something (or everything) is going wrong and you start telling yourself maybe you're not cut out for this or thinking you'll never get the hang of it – stop. If you feel like there's an area you're lacking in, look at ways to improve. Don't quit. It's cliché but winners never quit and quitters never win. If you decide that you're destined to succeed and go forward with that intention, you will achieve so much.
Life is for living, and that means the failures, the successes and everything in-between. If you're courageous enough to pursue the life that you chose for yourself then that makes you a huge success already so remember to celebrate yourself on the good days and the bad.
Lauren has over 8 years experience as an e-commerce seller, mostly in the fashion industry. She has studied textiles, business and fashion & clothing and now specialises in customised children's clothing and accessories.
Lauren is on a mission to bring happiness and celebrate indivuality through every piece of clothing she sells and to encourage people to wear clothes and colours that evoke joy and encourage fun.
You can follow Lauren on her mission and see all of the designs she creates on Instagram and Tik Tok @CrazyColourCustomz