For some reason, we often forget that we already meet our own definition of success. I don’t know why that is…but as a result, we tend to beat ourselves up for absolutely no good reason. If we fall into this trap, it can be expensive.
Here’s an example of someone who forgot what his own definition of success was and what it almost cost him. The story comes from Martha, a Pilgrim reader who sent me an e-mail about her son. It turns out that her son Mark, a freshman in college, was suffering from “I’m-a-loseritis.”
This was really difficult for Martha to hear. Mark did fantastic in high school. He had a great GPA and was super involved in the community. He was elected to many leadership positions in clubs and organizations. He volunteered often and was just a great kid.
His only problem was that he had an older sister who was also a super high achiever. While her accomplishments were in other areas, Mark always thought he was operating at a lower level than his sister.
Push came to shove soon enough.
Mark was considering running for office on the student council at college. The position he had his eye on was normally occupied by juniors and he wasn’t sure if he should run or not.
He consulted with his mother prior to applying. “Which job is right for me?” he asked her.
He feared he didn’t have the juice to make it – despite all the evidence to the contrary. That’s when Martha put on her genius hat.
She told her son to make a “victory list” – an accounting of all Mark’s achievements, good qualities and examples of what an amazing kid he was.
Being a good son, Mark made the list and read it to his mother.
1. Captain of the golf team
2. Outstanding Soloist Award – Lincoln Center Jazz High School Competition
3. President and Co-President of three community service groups
Mark’s list went on and on.
Mark’s mom asked him if he’d hire a person with a resume like that and Mark responded with an immediate “yes.” At that point he was convinced that he had the right to run for office and the ability to do a great job. His “loseritis” was gone.
My experience is that Mark isn’t the only one who has ever temporarily lost sight of his abilities and strengths. Lucky for Mark, his mother helped him snap out of it.
But what about you? Have you ever forgotten about your strengths? Have you ever lost your mojo? Do you think a victory list would help you? What other tactic have you used to get yourself back in the groove? Have you ever been in Martha’s position?
P.S. Totally off-subject: a great resource you should check out is Festival of Frugality.