In the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar (US), actress Kate Walsh shares her thoughts on being appreciative that success didn’t arrive until well into her mid-thirties (“I Made It After 35”, pg 256). A wonderful article documenting her struggle, she reflects on the many lessons she was taught in the journey through her twenties, and how thankfully she was able to navigate these times without the hindrance of fame, so that when it did finally arrive, she knew what to let roll off her back and how to appropriately handle situations that had they occurred earlier in her life, she made not have handled as gracefully.
All three of these emotions are common and understandable because when we invest our time into any venture, it is beyond disappointing to be denyed (initially) because we haven’t made a plan for the alternative . . . yet.
The fact that we respond so strongly to moments such as these is actually a good sign of where our passions lay. These moments can reveal a lot about who we are, what we desire, what we believe we are capable of and the true depth of our strength depending upon how we respond.
Life would be a wonderful utopia if everything we ever wanted came true, and we weren’t confronted by roadblocks; however, we know that is not the case. On the outside, it may seem that other people are spoon-fed a better lot than us, but we have to cast aside this comparison because we only have control over ourselves and the situations that present themselves to us.
It is our job to allow these setbacks, these long bouts of waiting and wondering to be molded in to a time when we choose to develop our talents, our creativity, and our strength, so that when the amazing moments arrive, we can grab them with both hands and make the most of them without taking them for granted.
Today I’d like to share with you ways to better navigate after the initial setback has occurred, so that you are continuously moving forward toward the intended success that that particular failure was intended to lead you toward.
2. Refuse to be deterred. For example, if your first round of attempts to find a publisher or literary agent aren’t successful, keep trying. You may have to change your proposal, you may have to change your direction slightly, but keep trying. The only people who never taste the deliciousness of success are those who throw in the towel. You may not end up where you thought you’d end up, but it is my understanding through experience and observance of others’ examples that life is guiding you to where you have the potential to one day be, but in order to get there, you must not stop.
3. Look up to role models. When you are in the trenches trying to figure out which way you should go and/or how you’re going to pick yourself up, look to people who have been there before you and have come out the other side successfully. In times of doubt, look to concrete examples that prove that someone that was on a similar journey as yourself made it work. If you are struggling novelist, look to J.K. Rowling. If you’re a struggling chef, look to Julia Child. If you’re a struggling entrepreneur, look to Henry Ford. In other words, lean on them. Be inspired by them as you establish faith that everything will work out.