This morning I was writing about a character. Her arc is to go from being what she considers to be a failure, to suddenly experiencing great success. So as I was tracing this movement, I started thinking about how to show what her failure looked like and felt like to her, and then what her success would look like and feel like also.
As always, writing is life and life is writing. The thought occurred to me that this is a good exercise to do for anyone who wants more success in their life. What makes you feel successful? How do you feel inside when you are successful? How do you behave? What actions do you take? What are the outer trappings of your success?
Conversely, how does failure make you feel? How do you act and present yourself when you feel beaten down and discouraged? What does failure look like in your world?
I have some ideas that are not yet fully formed about this topic. A vague starting point:
Successful people hold themselves well, stand up straight, meet your eyes and have a firm handshake. Duh. Beyond that, there's a sparkle in their eye, a zest for life that shows in the way they dress and walk. They don't hesitate–in any situation, they take action. Outwardly, they care for themselves and their surroundings well.
Failures slump over and their eyes are dead. They meander through their days instead of walking purposefully. Nothing much excites them so they spend a lot of time idly flipping through web pages that don't really interest them on the internet. Their surroundings are shabby and they don't much care.
What else? What am I missing? I want to know because this information bears on my character, but I also think it bears on all of us. What does success look like to you? To me success means getting a novel published and no matter what else I accomplish (and I have plenty of unrelated goals, such as write an Ebook and start a coaching program), until I publish a novel I'll not feel fully successful. What does that say about me?
The more I think about it, the more this topic of inner and outer success interests me. I think it is worthy of thought and writing about to explore how you really feel about it. Because once you know what success looks like for you, you can begin to take steps to achieve it. Probably I'll be doing lots of writing about it through the creation of this new character, which will have a bearing on my own life.
So let me know what your thoughts are about success. What will make you finally feel successful? Or maybe you already do–and if so, what contributes to that feeling? I'm all ears.