Achieving Enduring Success Through Reflection

I made five critical choices on my 25-year journey to enduring success. After making each choice, I couldn’t imagine anything more successful than that next point I had climbed to. Each time, in my mind, I had achieved the fullest success possible.

But with each success, deep inside me I knew something was still missing. I wanted, and needed, more.

My first critical choice was picking up the phone which granted me a chance to change from a life of drug addiction. I decided to live. In what were the darkest moments of my life, just taking one step at a time towards sobriety was the fullest success I could imagine. But I felt something was missing. I didn’t know how to live an ordinary life.

I entered into a two-way agreement with my sister to hold me accountable to the daily changes I had to make. That was a huge step. I was terrified because I had no confidence in myself. But because I chose to commit to this two-way agreement, I found joy in the ordinary; and that was the fullest success I could imagine.

After a while, I felt something was still missing. I realized that I didn’t just want to live, I wanted to be independent. I was emotionally and financially dependent on my sister. It was time to achieve a higher level of success on my own. To do that, I needed to build trust in myself – and then inspire the trust of others. When I landed –and excelled at– the best job in the world, I knew I had achieved independence. And I thought there was no way that I could achieve more success than what I was experiencing!

Until that unmistakable ‘missing’ feeling inside me came back. I was friendly with everyone but friends with no one. I wanted community and belonging, but hadn’t realized it until this point. I opened myself up to others and created a community – a place of safety, shared identity and belonging. I looked back to see how far I had climbed. This, surely, was the highest height of success that I could achieve.

And yet, that feeling re-emerged once more. I was holding back something, and it took me a while to realize what it was. Even after I identified it as needing to fully give love and receive love, it took me time to truly embrace it. And it is this fifth choice, to give all my love and to receive all the love others want to give me, that defines my enduring success.

Each of my successes built upon each other, preparing me for the next, guiding me to the peak of success. I didn’t achieve each, greater, success by dwelling on (and getting pulled down by) where I had failed in the past. I achieved each higher-level of success by reflecting on where I had succeeded in the past, and creating awareness of how I did it, how I felt and who helped me along the way.

Reflecting On The Journey To Enduring Success: Removing Blinders

That ‘missing’ feeling hasn’t reappeared since I made my fifth critical choice. No one can take away the enduring success that I have achieved. It’s never-ending and I’m in full control of it. I can – and do – confidently tell others that I am the most successful person I know. And that is a beautiful and wonderful thing.

As you strive to achieve enduring success in your own life, know that it is a journey. One that will lead you to the peak of love, joy, and fulfillment. But when you are just beginning your journey, it can seem impossible to look up and see anything over the fog. The peak is too high, too unattainable, too many obstacles are in the way. You might see something above you and think that’s the top, when really there is so much more you can’t even imagine.

I know because when I made the choice to not kill myself with that final needle, the only thing I could see was the phone shaking in my hand. There was nothing else beyond my sister’s voice, my dirty fingernails and tear-stained cheeks. Then, when I decided to enter into a two-way agreement, I couldn’t see beyond the walls of my sister’s family’s home that provided my safety net. I was learning how to eat, how to clothe myself, how to get through just one day without a fix. There was nothing else beyond that. Just like a horse wearing blinders, I too was wearing blinders that I didn’t even know I had. But once I figured out how to remove them, I started looking around – and up – and saw that there was more for me to explore, learn, and achieve.

Feeling Stuck? A Reflection Formula For Replicating Success

What blinders are keeping you from achieving enduring success? I speak with many people who are often vexed by what their next steps should be when striving for success. For example, people will have success at home but have no idea how to translate that success at work. Or they will have extraordinary success with their health goals, but struggle to find success in their marriage.

Reflection is a critical step in your journey towards enduring success and there is a process that can be replicated each step of the way to prevent you from getting stuck.

  • First, identify where you have achieved success.
  • Second, reflect on it by asking yourself, “what specific action or steps did I take to achieve this success?”
  • Next, consider how you felt before, during, and after you achieved success.
  • Then, list the people who helped you along the way.
  • Finally, repeat the same actions in another area of your life where you’d like to achieve success.

Why Reflection?

So what is it about reflection that makes it a critical step to achieving enduring success? Reflection creates awareness. And awareness creates the opportunity to replicate it (and to create a habit) in another area. Then you are in control to choose to act on it.

Don’t get caught up in where you are failing or by focusing too much on unmet expectations. Instead, focus on where you are succeeding. Flip the script in your self-talk to encouragement, self love, and celebrating wins. If you follow the reflection steps above, and work on implementing what works for you instead of focusing on what doesn’t, it’s only a matter of time before you achieve enduring success!

Start A Celebration Jar

To assist you along your journey towards enduring success, I encourage you to start a celebration jar. This is a simple action that will yield great results over time. Each day, write down one “win” on a slip of paper. This might be something you did well, something great that happened, an exciting connection you made, anything that makes you want to celebrate. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Place the slip of paper in a jar or box.

Choose a time to reflect on your wins from your celebration jar. This might be at the end of each month, at the end of quarter, or end of each year. Whatever you determine is the best time for you. Make time to sit down with your jar and read each slip of paper. Reflect on the win, noting how each made a difference in your journey to enduring success. Celebrate YOU!

If you’d like a template for your slips of paper and a pretty sign for your jar or box, download this template from the Choose & Become library.

In a recent Harvard Business Review study, reflection on surprise, frustration, and failure proved to be valuable in helping leaders learn and grow in their careers. It would be an honor to partner with your team to motivate and inspire them to create a habit of reflection on their journey to enduring success. Contact me today for more information on booking me as your next keynote speaker or workshop guest.

About Trish Kendall

An expert on creating enduring success, inspirational speaker Trish Kendall, transforms audiences’ belief of success. Trish brings candid stories, humor in the face of true hardship, simple lessons, compassion and love to all her speaking engagements. Follow her on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook and sign up for her newsletter for regular inspiration and wisdom regarding community building, belonging, choosing love, and enduring success.

If you’re ready to book Trish as your next keynote speaker or if you want to learn more about her story and her message, please reach out.

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