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When Things Go Right: Dealing with Success with Humility

Jumping for Joy

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.” ~Herman Melville

Recently I experienced a triumph in my career. The details are not important and frankly, many people might even consider it a trivial accomplishment, but it was important to me.

Usually when things go our way there are two ways someone might react: humility or boasting. I decided to try something completely different.

Boasting isn’t really part of who I am. Raised to be humble, take praise with many grains of salt, I play down accomplishments. But, this course never seems to get me anywhere.

Humility leads to self-doubt and self-deprivation. It also gets in the way of future success.

In the past when I’ve experienced success I told no one, because that might be bragging. What happens then is no one knows of my accomplishments; therefore, I lack credibility, which undermines future efforts. Being too humble is self-sabotage.

It minimizes my accomplishments in my own eyes. When I say things like, “Gee, it was nothing,” or “Anybody can do that,” what I’m really telling myself is I’ve accomplished nothing.

So instead, I sit back and watch the loud girl or guy tell everyone how they saved the day or how much their boss loved their report or how smart their dog is, while I sit quietly buying the hoopla and then thinking how mediocre I am.

This time, however, I had no space in my mind for either humility or boasting. Instead, I was filled with gratitude. And gratitude allowed me to sing praises, not for my own awesomeness alone, but for everyone who assisted in helping me reach my goal.

From my husband to casual acquaintances, I told each person the part they played in helping me realize this success. I’m not kidding, and I didn’t just do this in my head.

I told my yoga instructor how her guidance helped me relax in my body so my mind could do its work. I thanked my Facebook friends for giving me small entertaining distractions to lighten my days. I thanked the members of my meditation group for helping me find strength to put myself out there.

I gave thanks with sincerity, and not just to let people know I’d achieved my goal, but to help others too. I publicly gave recognition to the company that had shown appreciation for my work, besides helping promote their business would ultimately promote my work.

As I doled out this gratitude, I did lose one thing. I lost the feeling of being alone in my awesomeness. Me, myself, and I! I did it! Instead I felt I was part of a bigger community.

My small achievement strengthened my connection in the world. Things really had gone right. Even if for one small blip in the history of the world. At that moment, all the people connected to me and I got it right.

These feelings of love and gratitude paid off like no amount of humility or self-back-patting ever could. Gratitude encouraged me to keep working and keep reaching for accomplishments.

No One Gets There Alone

Sometimes we might think accomplishments come only from our effort and hard work. “If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.” But the truth is, none of us ever reaches any accomplishment without others.

You might be inspired by the encouragement of others, or by the poor actions of others. Good or bad, like it or not someone helped you.

Start being grateful and you’ll feel like you’re running downhill laughing with freedom.

1. Thank yourself.

You deserve it. You really do.

Don’t knock yourself down by minimizing your accomplishments, no matter how small. Doing so constricts your soul with underlying disbelief or inferiority.

2. Thank the person/entity who recognized your work.

Outside of yourself, those who appreciate your work are the first you should thank. Without their light being spotlighted onto you, there would be no accomplishment.

3. Thank all the supporting players.

When we think of the ways others support us, our hearts open to love. We become encouraged to offer equal support to others.

You might be grateful for the mechanic who keeps your car in working condition, which allows you to get to work. The barista who makes your morning coffee supports you by helping start your day.

Being grateful for everyone who assisted your success is true humility.

Photo by Rama V

About Celeste Murphy

Celeste Murphy thanks you for taking the time to read this post. Over the past year she has entered into an intensive meditation practice, which has made a beautiful impact on her life. Her recent short story How I Learned to Wash a Car is available through Loco Publishing.

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