When I was in high school and getting acquainted with my perfectionist tendencies in full force, I had a choice to make – stay in my advanced studies class or switch to a regular class in order to maintain my ‘A.’ I was hyper focused on being Valedictorian so I chose the safe route of switching to the regular English course to secure my spot at the top of the class. Securing how I defined success superseded my desire to grow and learn. Going a layer deeper, this was driven by my perception that I was more valuable as a Valedictorian who had “achieved” than as someone who had taken the risk to learn and earned a lesser grade. Why? Because success meant hearing the applause from others, standing at the podium performing my speech, having a seat on the stage. Success meant the sweet sound of validation from a source outside myself.
Even having redefined success as I’ve experienced life, I still find the sneaky ways a former version of myself tries to secure the safe success. It can be risky to try something new, to expand, to grow, and it definitely takes confidence from within to believe that I am valuable without reaching for what others might think. What is more important to you? Securing the world’s version of success, or setting your sails to discover something new across uncharted waters? Imagine what you might discover when you let go of the idea of success altogether and simply experience life. Do you want to settle for perfect or seek out your potential? Are you hiding who you are with what you do?