There is no such thing as linear success

suzanneveeken Uncategorized 0 Comments

Yesterday I was listening to a podcast of Michael Bungay Stanier from Box of Crayons. He interviewed a shame researcher and writer I admire; Brené Brown. They both fully agreed on the idea that growth or success is not a linear process. And, that it’s actually quite the opposite; it can be messy, full of ups and downs, and starting over. I could not agree more.

As human beings we have the tendency to romanticise the past and the future. We do not only tend to underestimate the time certain steps, tasks, or processes take, but we also forget not everything is manageable. And a lot of us compare ourselves with others. With people of who we believe dó go through linear processes of growth and success, and achieve results effortlessly. Which is never true, obviously.

Brené Brown took her book from publisher to publisher. In the end it took her five years to get her work on the shelves of a bookshop. When she finally did she bought a complete new wardrobe, for what she thought was going to be her moment of fame. She expected calls, interviews, all that would give her a chance to the book. She wasn’t called. From high, to low. She did gave a TED talk; a public performance she initially felt embarrassed about. A new low. But then her talk became an instant hit, and her ideas and original writing style were recognised. A high.

The process of growth I experienced since I started to work from Prague last year, is everything but linear. There are moments when I’m celebrating success with a ridiculous big, Czech beer, and I see Growthsparks moving in the right direction. And there are days when I can feel stuck, because I didn’t get the project or client I hoped for, or when I made an unfortunate decision.

The thing is: If you are taking two steps forward and one step back, you are still making progress. Personally what helps me, is to stay on the move, and to recognise that succes sometimes looks like the bright line on a heart rate monitor. And that’s ok, as long as the average pulse rate goes up.

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