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What Does Success Look Like During a Global Pandemic?

  • Boy has it been a rough couple of months… a bit of a challenging path on the journey! Aside from the stress specifically related to the global pandemic (and other things), there is also stress related to how much we are “supposed” to be accomplishing during this time. There can be a lot of pressure, especially on social media, to be super productive and creative during this time and to make sure we accomplish all the things we may not have had time for before the pandemic. But, while some of us may thrive during this current situation, many others may not. And many of us fall into an in-between category where sometimes we are doing well and sometimes we just aren’t. All of that is ok!

    Those of you who know me know I already have been talking about success as a measure of effort, not material results. That is true now more than ever. I never was a believer that success should be calculated based on earnings or bank account or size of your house. Yes, those things can be great. But they don’t say anything about you as a person. They also don’t account for all the invisible battles many of us may have such as mental or other illness, trauma, or other unseen circumstances.

    In my book, “The Journey of Success: Even When Success Is Just Getting Out of Bed”, I talk about success as a measure of effort. I also talk about “elements” of success. The elements are guidelines that can be used at all times – tough times and easy times, pandemic or no pandemic.

    Elements of Success

    1. Integrity: It all comes down to just being a good person. Being kind and not judgmental. Being authentic. I have always found that acting with integrity keeps me grounded even when things aren’t going well. When all else fails, I know that at my core I am a good person trying to do the right things.
    2. Hope: Call it hope, faith, positivity, optimism – call it whatever you want. It is the key to moving forward towards everything else. This is where depression comes into play. If you are struggling, ask for help. If you see someone struggling, offer help.
    3. Self-care/wellness: This includes taking care of ourselves and making sure we are well – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Like the instructions on planes to put the mask on yourself first and then on others.
    4. Relationships: Healthy, positive relationships are key. These relationships can be with a significant other or family, but they don’t have to be. They can be with friends, colleagues, and even pets.
    5. Knowledge: Knowledge can be formal education (college, training programs, etc.) and life experience. We should always be thinking and learning and passing our knowledge along to others.
    6. Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship means having something of your own. It might be a business, or it might not. It can be a hobby or a cause. It gives a great sense of accomplishment when you see an idea or passion that you have come to life. It also gives you fulfillment and a purpose if you are doing something that you enjoy or feel you are meant to do.
    7. Leadership: If you have made it to this point (past the other elements), chances are you are already doing things that inspire other people and you are already a leader. When people see someone else living their life with integrity, being hopeful for positive outcomes, caring for themselves, understanding the importance of relationships, attaining higher levels of knowledge, and doing their own thing, that is absolutely something inspirational.
    8. Philanthropy: Philanthropy is tied closely with integrity. It's putting your principles in action and giving back. We have come full circle here.

    Keep in mind that the elements are not meant to be a “follow all the steps in order and climb up to the top” guide. There will be times you move forward, times you remain in place, and times you fall back. That’s ok! When you hit a bump in the road or take a wrong turn, it’s ok to hit that reset button and start again with one of the elements.

    So, what does success look like during a pandemic? The same as it looks when it’s not a pandemic. You are successful when you are trying… you are successful from your effort. Some days will be better than others. Some days you may be amazing and productive and creative! Other days you may need to rest and reset and take care of yourself. On those days, success may just be getting out of bed. Acknowledge and celebrate your successes, no matter how small. We will get through this.