When I worked for national newspapers, I used to go out and about up and down the UK, interviewing all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds.
Over the years, I’ve sat and I’ve listened to people from the most diverse of backgrounds, who live both the most chaotic and privileged of lives, and who normally have the strongest of opinions and the most polarising of views and attitudes (and you know what, I’ve liked most of them).
I have been to some of the most beautiful houses and I’ve seen the bleakest of living conditions where all those things you see on the news about people with no food or heating, and no joy or purpose, are actually playing out in reality.
There were moments that were so surreal – such as when two Weimaraners sat on either side of me, literally pressed up against me, their heads level as with mine and kept turning their heads sideways to gage my reaction with every revelation the interviewee made – that I still chuckle about them now.
But there’s one particular person I’m remembering right now, who taught me a valuable lesson about success, what it is and how it’s experienced. And this memory came back to me this week.
Let me explain why
In this particular interview, I went to meet a woman who was the same age as me then, but the complete opposite to me.
There she was with a life that was a chaotic, imperfect, comprised a small, messy but happy council flat, a blended family, and a front door on which neighbours and family seemed to constantly knock, checking in and popping in.
I have never done any interview before in which SO many people dropped in to see how things were going.
We started out with just her and I, by the end, there were probably 14 people in the room: cousins, aunties, neighbours, sibings and various ex’s.
And they were ALL chiming in with their own version of events.
It was the sort of situation I never would have considered – not at first glance at least – enviable. But I sat in that living room and thought ‘This person has got so much right.’
Not much money but actual happiness and simple, achievable goals that are relished and celebrated by a huge cheery group when achieved.
This week I saw this brilliant post on Facebook, and it reminded me of this woman again.
A thought for those of you who are struggling to be successful. Success is not a point you can ever reach. For when we reach our goals and targets, we experience momentary pleasure and then the joy disappears. Success therefore is found in the journey.
Only when we enjoy the journey can we truly say that we are successful. So enjoy today and doing what you love. Do not think you are not successful yet. If you are enjoying what you are doing today, you already are successful!!
You see, the other side of being that interviewee, or living according the above quote, is to spend your life doing what I do to myself (and maybe you do too!). In which goal posts constantly get moved forward, standards get higher, ambitions grow and grow, and you wonder what will ever be enough!
And that can be – at times – kind of torturous!
Well, don’t worry, I’m not about to change personality, or pledge to be more realistic or more moderate. We are who we are.
But when I read that quote on Facebook, I remembered that interviewee and I wanted to give myself a slap for never pausing to enjoy or celebrate the victories and successes that I’ve had.
You know, when my book came out, my partner said to me ‘We must go and celebrate’ and I thought ‘Why?’
The book was out! That part was done. I’d already yanked that goal post right out of the ground and replanted it 100 meters ahead. And it had only taken me about 5 minutes to start treating a published book as though it was yesterdays news!
So, in homage to that interviewee I’ll never forget, and the person who posted that quote on Facebook, today, I’m asking you to just stop for one moment, remember a recent success.
And you know what, enjoy it!