I remember when I was helping someone work through feelings of inadequacy. He had a few successful semesters of community college. Then he moved to another town to transfer to a 4 year college. The first semester away, he failed most of his classes. He ultimately transferred back to his hometown community college, but was now convinced that he was an absolute failure. He didn’t think he could succeed at the community college, let alone transfer again to a 4 year college. Despite my exhortations, he was discouraged.
This is what i had him do. I had him right the name of each college class on a post-it along with the grade he earned. Then we discussed what he considered success when it comes to a college course. His definition was a grade of B. Then I had him separate the post-its into 2 stacks. One stack was for courses where he earned a B or higher. The other stack was for the courses where he earned a C or lower. We counted the stacks. We determined the total number of courses he had taken at that point and figured out the percentage of courses he succeeded.
I then steered the conversation to athletes. We decided that Joe Montana was a successful quarterback. (As a matter of fact one of the best EVER). We looked up what percentage of passes he completed in the pros. 63.2%. We also decided that Michael Jordan was a successful basketball player. We looked up his career field goal percentage. That was 48.7%. I then said, it seems to me that your percentage is higher than Michael Jordan and Joe Montana. I would say you are in good company and should not quit believe\ing. Here is another target to keep in mind. Michael Jordan successfully completed 82.8% of his free throws. So keep working. Even if you don’t reach that, you are already doing well. You had a lousy game. Don’t quit. Remember the successes.
He said, you know, I am going to remember my completions. I realize that even though I failed at some classes, that cannot define me. I have talents and I have determination. I have heart. I care about people. I have my faith and I love my family. The rest is just steering my ship around the rocks the best I can. If I run aground, I already know what to do. I won’t panic. I will stop the comparison game. I am competing against myself, not them.
I said, then, in the course of life you are on the right track. It is like mountain climbing. If you doubt, during your climb, that you can reach the top, remember how far you have climbed, remember the difficulties you have overcome, the fears you have crushed.You will do fine.
He did succeed by the way. He received his Bachelor’s with honors. Even more importantly, he did it with his compassionate, empathetic heart intact.
We, too, must remember in this competitive world that there are many ways to be successful. I would not want to compromise my own personal priorities and trade them for anyone else’s. You see, I cannot be someone else. I would fail miserably and the world doesn’t need me to be anyone’s copycat! Success? Success is firmly planting myself on the path God put me on. Success is running my path all the way to the finish line. I think we need to continually make time to examine and evaluate our priorities, goals, strategies. For me, every path I take must include mentoring and encouraging people. My path must also include prayer, writing, exercise,various duties, and some networking! For some people, success includes money, and building a huge team of employees. For others, it includes hours of overtime, lengthy vacations, and fancy cars. My point is, first you need to decide the path. Then you need to decide the strategy to keep yourself running your path. You also must decide how you will keep your other priorities, because that will help your stamina. That will feed your heart and soul.
The young man assumed everyone else had perfect grades, always surrounded by adoring friends, and never had a lousy day. I think we tend to focus on the negative in us and forget the positives. Let’s treat ourselves the way we want others to treat us.