I Will Never Be Successful Enough



Dear Preston:

I hate to put it this way, but I really feel as though I will never be successful enough.  I have a small business and it does well enough, but I just have not gone up the ladder the way I have wanted to and it makes me feel terrible.  You have achieved so much, what are your suggestions?


Dear F:

Your letter really struck me, and to be honest, it broke my heart a little.  We live in a world that really has some strange ways of measuring success and I feel it’s particularly difficult for artists who don’t always have a clear vision of growth.  Here’s what I believe: success is really just making the best possible choices you can with the knowledge you have. Personally, I think it is really finding time to do what you love. If that is for a living, you’re already living the dream of many and that is worth acknowledging.  This is not a pep-talk, but a reality check, as too many of us get so caught up in what we think we don’t have that we completely disregard the amazing things we do.

F, the only person you are failing is you. It takes courage to go after what you want in life, to be an artist, to follow your own path and to admit when you feel vulnerable. You are a huge success in my eyes and it pains me to think you feel that just because some people have “more” of what you already have access to (money, clients, events, press) it feels unfair (to you).

My suggestion is to create realistic goals for yourself. Instead of saying I want to be rich, say “I want to increase my sales 3-5% this quarter” and really put an hour each day into working towards that goal.  Instead of saying, “I want to be famous” which is so arbitrary, say “I want to be known as being the best designer I can be.”

Finally, F, I want to let you know that you are not alone.  We all feel this way at one time or another and it is really brave of you to put it out there.

Readers: Do you ever feel this way? Share your experience with us.