Saturday, July 21, 2018

Feeling Successful vs. Achieving Success

First International Conference—PTK
Consistency. This is something I had to learn myself. I had to learn to stay consistent with the path I was taking to become successful in my chosen career. It isn’t easy as I find my mind and passion pushing me in every direction without a clear way to get there.

For the last three weeks, I’ve been reading the book Start With Why by Simon Sinek. I’ve discussed part of Sinek’s book in another post about culture and if YOU fit into the culture you were born in. Surprisingly, Sinek’s book isn’t about different cultures, but about the leadership culture and how some of the world’s leading leaders are making a difference in their communities and how they got there.

I’m nearly done with the book, about twenty-five pages away, and I'm continually learning new ways that I can better my life by following and utilizing the Golden Circle. Instead of telling people WHAT I am doing I’m telling people WHY I’m doing it. There is a reason for everything I’ve done since I’ve graduated high school in 2013.
High School Graduation—2013

I didn’t know it then but working at a tax and accounting office was going to be the first step in my ultimate plan for success. No, I’m not in the accounting field and no, I’m not interested in the field either. I’ve never been interested in bookkeeping or taxes, but I have always been a passionate person who likes meeting new people and helping people with their struggles. The tax and accounting office was a great place to practice and learn the skills I needed to become a helper.

For the next five years, I transitioned between four separate jobs, some I was working at the same time, learning and advancing my skill set so I could figure out what I wanted to be. It wasn’t until 2015, when I took my first three college classes at Fox Valley Technical College, that I started to understand what my future was going to look like.
Fox Valley Technical College—Appleton

Becoming certified in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) in May 2015, pushed me to follow a separate path than what I had originally set for myself. I’ve written about this before, about how I originally planned on being a computer animator, and how my career path and passion quickly changed to education. To learn more about this story visit this link.

As I was achieving more and more through school and work, I started to notice that I was still feeling unhappy. I many times felt lost and as if I wasn’t doing enough. To alleviate this feeling, I started to push myself harder and further than ever before. I risked my wellbeing to make sure I was being someone that could be considered better than the average joe and my health continued to decline.

As Sinek stated in his book, Start With Why, “The false assumption we often make is that if we simply achieve more, the feeling of success will follow. But it rarely does.” And I agree with this statement.

I’m a perfectionist, something I inherited from my dad. In college, I push myself past my limits to get the perfect 4.0 GPA. Each semester I break down more times than I can count on both of my hands with the amount of stress my classes put on me and the amount of stress I put on myself. I work as many hours as humanly possible while being a full-time college student, many times taking more than full-time credits. Yet, with every win and achievement, I find myself less and less happy. Therefore, Sinek was correct.

As I’m working through my summer classes and getting ready for the fall semester, I find myself reminiscing about things I’ve done this summer. I should be jumping with joy and happier than ever before because I’ve accomplished something on my bucket list. I went to China. I enjoyed my trip. And this may be the reason why I feel so lost.

In the section, Being Successful vs. Feeling Successful, in Simon Sinek’s book, he wrote, “Those with the ability to never lose sight of WHY, no matter how little or how much they achieve, can inspire us. Those with the ability to never lose sight of WHY and also achieve the milestones that keep everyone focused in the right direction are the great leaders.”

Have I lost my WHY? No. Has my WHY become cloudy and fuzzy? Yes.

There is a difference between achievement and success. Simon Sinek stated it best by saying, “Achievement is something you reach or attain, like a goal… Success, in contrast, is a feeling or a state of being.”

I can go on for days talking about how much I love Simon Sinek’s book, but you wouldn’t learn a single thing. I understand, after reading Start With Why, that many of today’s greatest leaders don’t feel successful. Today’s leaders have made achievements, but they haven’t found their success. Achievements are tangible. We can feel, touch, see, and hear achievements. Success is when we “have a clear path and understanding of WHY we want it.”

Many celebrities, musicians, and leaders all speak about how after achieving the fame that they are lonely. I’m a fan of K-pop and one of my favorite bands, BTS, talks about how they all have felt sadness and loneliness even after reaching international recognition and becoming popular and breaking into the American music market.

As stated in the section, Split Happens, Sinek said, “At the beginning, ideas are fueled by passion—that very compelling emotion that causes us to do quite irrational things.” Because of this, many celebrities, musicians, and leaders started their dreams with simple ideas and had a strong passion to change something. But as their passion, careers, and businesses grew, the passion and their WHY started to fade.

We have to understand that “Success comes when we wake up every day in that never-ending pursuit of WHY we do WHAT we do. Our achievements, WHAT we do, serves as the milestone to indicate we are on the right path.”

Even though my WHY has started to fade, I re-established myself when I was in China. Instantly, I knew WHY I was there and WHY I’m in college pursuing a degree. I know WHAT I want to achieve and WHY it’s important to me and my community.

Children's Day—Beijing, China
As Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, said, “Celebrate your success. Find some humor in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Loosen up and everybody around you will loosen up.”

I’ve learned so many valuable pieces of information from Simon Sinek’s book and from my trip to China. I understand that for me to achieve my life’s dreams and to feel successful, I’ll need to push myself outside of my comfort zone and to, most importantly, secure my path to follow my WHY.

Did you find this post interesting? If so, please share and leave a comment. I love hearing about other people’s adventures and stories of how they’ve overcome obstacles and have achieved their dreams. Until next time, keep your head held high and never give up. 

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