Guest Contributor: Tara Meade
Shimmer, Sparkle, Shine Volunteer
When I was just 8 years old, I dreamed of riding around the neighborhood on a new bike. This new bike would be much bigger than my old bike; bright red, shimmery, and it would have pink tassels on the handlebars. Every weekend, all the kids in my neighborhood ride bikes, and I would feel so happy, free, and empowered to have this new bike. But how would I be able to get this bike, since my parents said I needed to buy it myself?
Every human being looks, thinks, and feels differently; similarly, each person defines success in their own way. Does success come in the form of dollar bills, acceptance of others, everlasting love and relationships, a new bike, or does it come in the form of fitting into smaller clothes or earning 1st place on the podium? The first step toward achieving success is defining it for yourself. Ask yourself; What does success look like?
Whether you are trying to be successful to make a new friend, being kind, getting a good grade, finishing a project, or just checking off a simple task, the first step to defining success for yourself is to think about success as a process. Ralph Waldo Emerson quoted that, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” The best way to visualize what success looks like is in the form of a long-term goal. Success for me as a young girl was riding the new red bike. This was my ‘destination.’ A long-term goal is a as a reminder of your ‘destination.’ Ask yourself; What are you trying to achieve?
The second step to achieving success and reaching one’s ‘destination’ is to draw of a roadmap for your ‘journey’. One of the greatest predictors of success is setting small, yet reachable short-term goals. Achieving success and reaching goals is not easy and not without road blocks, detours, and unexpected disruptions. As I started my journey toward buying my new bike, I needed to determine how I would earn and save enough money to buy my dream bike. One of my short-term goals included asking neighbors for weekend jobs like weeding gardens, walking their dog, cleaning up after their dogs, or even watching babies while they slept. From each of these tasks, I was able to earn small sums of money. Another short-term goal I took was to visit my bank with my mom and open a saving account, so my cash was safe and stored away to I could not spend it. Ask yourself; How are you going to get there?
What happens when you get lost and lose your way to your destination? Winston Churchill states, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” Success has many ups and downs. The detour for me and my quest for a new bike was that none of these neighborhood jobs paid me enough money to buy my bike, so I had to change directions and ask my family how I can help them to earn more cash. My chores sure did add up with this detour, but now my saved money grew, and I was one step closer to my new bike destination. Keep trying, stay focused, ask for help, and continue to visualize your success. Ask yourself; Is there another way to achieve your short-term goals? Who can help you find a new way?
The final step to achieving success is to celebrate each step toward your destination. How can I reward myself for forward momentum? The biggest reward for my 8-year-old self was seeing my money grow. I was rewarded with each job or chore completed and each deposit into the bank. This is where self-care, love, and joy come into the equation. Eventually for me, I bought my dream red bike. I was so proud of myself and I had so much fun riding the neighborhood with my friends. As you reach your short- term goals and final destination, reward yourself with something that makes you feel beautiful, a favorite treat, a new book to read or song to listen to, or just a moment away from the stresses of life.