With the advent of football season, prognostications of success and defeat, analyses of injuries and coaching, talk of winning and losing, and endless rankings are everywhere. I sometimes wonder how players and coaches feel about the scrutiny they’re under. Expectations of perfection abound. Lauding and criticism stumble over each other.
But what of personal success? Do you feel you are under continual assessment? Do you expect perfection of yourself? What constitutes success in your mind?
Following are a few secrets to personal success:
A guaranteed way to experience a feeling of defeat is to compare yourself to others. Our society thrives on comparisons, so it’s reasonable that we tend toward watching others and attempting to self-elevate. But we were created to be unique. Your areas of personal success may look different to another’s achievements, but they are no less worthy. Comparing yourself to others is a sure recipe for discontentedness. And you can be sure that although someone may look successful on the outside, they experience inner struggles we don’t see.
Beware the Negative Cheerleader
At a football game, cheerleaders encourage enthusiasm and support for the team. Even when a team lags far behind, cheerleaders plaster a smile on their faces, jump a little higher, and shout a little louder. Even when the outcome of the game seems bleak, cheerleaders “soldier on” to the bitter end.
Although we think of cheerleaders in a positive light, have you ever encountered a negative cheerleader, not on the football field, but in life? Negative cheerleaders appear to be supporters, but they radiate and undertone of criticism and negativism that makes you doubt your God-given abilities and second guess yourself.
Sometimes negative cheerleaders are hard to spot because they pretend to be supporters. However, with awareness and discernment, you can recognize these harbingers of doubt and take steps to distance yourself from them.
Focus on Your Gifts and Talents
Last weekend, as I watched a football game with my husband, a team attempted a long field goal. When the kicker came onto the field, he looked tiny compared to the other players. When the camera showed his face, I said, “He looks like a middle schooler!” But looks are deceiving, and small doesn’t equal inept. Although he seemed young, this guy had a foot on him! He effortlessly kicked the field goal, that propelled his team’s forward motion.
Are you trying hard to achieve success in an area that isn’t your gift? Like the little kicker, you may sit on the sidelines until you are needed. While others experience acclaim, you may wait for your one moment to shine, to use that one talent that brings success.
Determine your gifts and talents and fan them into flame. Practice, study, do whatever it takes to perfect your gift. Then use your gift, and talent, for God’s glory.
Commit to Discipline
Most of us don’t like the word “discipline” because in involves limitations. We’d rather do as we please and still accomplish what we desire. But discipline is inherent in success, and without discipline, failure lurks.
No athlete ever stepped onto the playing field or competed in a contest without hours of training and discipline prior to that day. Realize, if you want to succeed. you must adhere to the discipline required to accomplish your goals.
If you want to succeed, you must adhere to the discipline required to accomplish your goals.
Accept Life’s Victories and Defeats
We just returned from a week at the beach. Watching the ocean’s ebb and flow, I was reminded that life is a series of highs and lows. We ride the tide of victory and success only to be dragged back by a strong undertow of defeat. We bask in a mountaintop experience followed by an unexpected sojourn in a life valley.
When you experience success, remember those who wish they were accepting the award or being named to the position. Be gracious and humble, and as my grandmother used to say, “Don’t get the big head.” When you see someone who is living one of life’s lows, encourage, support, and listen. Remember those who spurred you on with words or deeds and do likewise.
Maintain and Attitude of Gratitude
Many people think achievement is tied to their efforts and who they know, but any success we experience in life is related to God’s favor and blessing. Remember that, and instead of congratulating yourself for success, adopt an attitude of gratitude for all God has done for you. Live a life of service to God, accept His timing, evaluate success according to His definition, and experience joy far beyond anything you can imagine.
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” (Joshua 1:8 NLT).
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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