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Why Working for Success Doesn't Always Work | Passage Hill Studio

It’s a new year with new goals.

You’re taking strides towards success because you long to achieve your heartfelt dreams. Right?

What if I told you that working for and chasing success doesn’t always pan out?

Here’s what working for success looks like:

You dream, vision, plan, and scribble goals in a fancy notebook or planner. There are highlighters involved.

You write a million action steps that will take you to the door of success. You work hard and sometimes you step over the threshold into the success you’ve been reaching for. Wow. Go you.

But what happens if you aren’t able to complete a few of your key actions along the way? How do you react when the plan gets jumbled and you don’t end up in ‘Success Town’? When you look back after each quarter or the end of the year and didn’t bring your original vision to life?

There’s letdown. There’s disappointment over what feels like failed effort. When you’re working for success there’s frustration over not doing ALL THE THINGS you said you’d do this year!!

Working for success doesn’t always work because we have a narrow picture of what “success” looks like in our heads. It’s black and white. It’s solely the picture of the original vision. The goals we’ve been chasing all along. If we don’t live into that specific vision, those goals, we tend to call it failure. Even if we’ve done some pretty great things during the year…

Work for Progress | Passage Hill Studio

What if there was a way to feel more fulfilled and grateful? A way to embrace the actual gift of the hard work you’ve put in?

I think there is — and I’m hoping my 2016 looks a whole lot more like pressing into progress than working to have a successful year.

Here’s what tracking progress looks like:

You dream, vision, plan, and scribble goals in a fancy notebook or planner. There are pretty pens and markers involved.

You write plenty of micro-goals that will help your dreams live well. You work hard. But your plan doesn’t unfold like you expected it to. You don’t accomplish what you thought you would.

Instead of looking back after each quarter or at the end of the year with a sinking feeling — ‘I didn’t reach those big-meaningful-goals that I set out to reach this year…’ can we try something else?

Each month write down the ways in which you made progress.

Maybe you didn’t write as many guest posts as you had planned but you wrote three. That’s progress. It’s meaningful.

It’s moving you three steps closer to where you were before. If you just look back on your month and weren’t able to cross off the “success goal” of 10 guests posts, you’d feel dismal.

Maybe you didn’t book as many clients as you were counting on but you had awesome engagement on your social media resources — that’s still progress and success in its own form.

What kind of mind-set shift would happen if you tracked the baby steps, the progress, and the highlights of the month? What would happen if you worked more for progression and less for success?

I’m willing to bet feelings of fulfillment and gratitude would bubble up when you look back on the progress of small-moment wins. In turn, those micro moments could be counted as success.

How have you progressed this month?

I’d love to know the wins you’ve had! Share with me below.

2 comments… add one

  • Lee Courrau January 22, 2016, 9:47 am

    At the beginning of this month I felt like I was in a whirlwind of confusion, regret, FEAR and failure. You’re right; when you start a business you want to be at the finish line as quickly as you convince yourself that you want to own a business. The most difficult thing I had to accept was that progress is not always building a brick wall in one shot from a flat surface. You have to lay bricks slowly but each brick that stands is progress.

    After starting to read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert I had a coming to Jesus moment. It literally changed my life and mentality. Now reading your post I realized that the biggest leap forward I made this month was accepting that the right thing to do is go all in to what I LOVE to do. It’s going to take time but when you love what you do progress is made every single day.

    Thank you for this post. It came at the absolute best time.

    • Alysa February 1, 2016, 12:16 pm

      I love the analogy of building a brick wall — brick by brick. That’s exactly it, Lee!

      And yes, whether we’re just starting out or are years into the journey we can be surprised by fear, confusion, and failure. You’ve put it so well — “when you love what you do, progress is made every single day.” It’s all about continuing to do what we love in spite of the things that want to hold us back.

      Glad this post came at the right moment for you. Cheering you and your new fitness business forward!

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