What you are makes you rich, not what you have

As far back as I can remember, it has been drilled into my head that we all need goals. That seems especially true in business matters. When a business is created or established, a set of goals should be a part of that business plan.

No goals = no direction = failure.

Back in my corporate days when I was working 40 hours a week for someone else, I recall a meeting where a former employer wrote out the company’s goals for the coming year on a white board. Under each goal he listed the steps required to meet them. Some of the goals had only a few steps necessary, though others required multiple levels and multiple staff members to achieve.

But it made sense. Break the goal down into understandable and attainable steps. Assign a task to each staff member, and wallah! The goal is achieved!!

Sounds easy, right?

The reality is, if you don’t have a staff, the expendable time, the knowledge and know-how, the marketing mind-set, the finances, or whatever else is required, well, not all the steps to achieve our goals are attainable.

I now laugh at myself when I think back on the days before publishing my first book in 2020. I had set my goal to match my idolized dreams of being a NYT bestselling author within five years. I would be living the good life on the beaches of Hawaii, while enjoying my million-dollar advance from my publisher. Now, fast forward four years. That unrealistic dream of sipping drinks adored with little umbrellas while sitting on my own private beach on the white sands of Oahu, well, that hasn’t come to fruition.

Thinking I could only consider my writing career a success if I sold a million books was the set-up for feeling like a failure.

And believe me, I have felt like a failure in this endeavor, more than once. But with failure also comes a new perspective, a new way to look at things, and if my books never reach bestseller stardom, I’m okay with that.

(Maybe I shouldn’t admit that right out loud. Fate is always listening!)

One of the talented authors/social media gurus that I follow is Tiffany Yates Martin. She has shared some great newsletters with helpful information that has kept me in the game, especially when I have felt less than successful. Her most recent one was titled: What are you working toward?  (You can read that here.) 
Hmm . . . what am I working toward? That is a good question, one that made me really stop and analyze where I started, where I am now, but more importantly, where I want to go from here. The answer I came up with surprised me, as my goals have changed since 2020.

The other day, while surfing through the endless stream of content on Facebook, there was a clip of a man doing a happy dance with a face full of joy, and his caption read: “I just sold my third book in five years!” As I watched that clip for a few seconds, or minutes, as social media can be a huge time-suck, I was moved at how thrilled this guy was. That was success for him. That was joy for him.

Fortunately, I have sold a few more than three books, but I can so relate to his joy with every book I sell.

Last weekend, hubby and I had a vendor booth at the Moscow Renaissance Fair in Idaho. It was our third trip back as vendors to this wonderful event, and it is the people we get to meet, the ones who come out to the fair, rain or shine, that make us return. This year, I had two separate  and very special encounters with two lovely young ladies who had purchased books from me at last year’s event. When Kacey and Kay came to my booth again this year to specifically purchase the next books in the series, I could have closed up shop and walked away feeling completely satisfied. Those two girls made my day!

So, what am I working toward? If it’s not about the numbers, the followers, or the dollars, what is it?
I’ll tell you what it is. It is making that connection with another soul through my storytelling. That one-on-one interaction can bring me so much joy, it feels like I slip into a peaceful sublime lake of utter bliss. That is what success feels like to me.

Most people in business would say we should always be moving our goal post further away, keep reaching for what is next. But I have decided to move my goal post a little closer to reality, to be more in tune to what brings me joy: You – the reader. And if the readers only come one at a time, that’s okay. It is still forward progress.

And speaking of you, what is your definition of success? Do you set goals, and are they outlined with the steps required to meet them, or are you counting on hope to bring them into fruition? Will accomplishing those goals actually bring you joy? Is it time to move your goalpost?

I love to hear from you! Please let me know what you think about goal-setting and what the definition of success means to you.

I’ll leave you with these very wise words from a longtime friend:“A day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.” —Winnie the Pooh

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