Found! The Secret Sign of Success

I tried hard, mum...

It was Mother’s Day.

But I was not happy.

I was trying to make a cake for my mum.  Her favourite Victoria Sponge.

What was the problem?

I’d made Victoria sponges loads of times before, to great applause from the family. 

But this was different. I had to succeed. I wanted her to say: ‘It’s lovely! Better than I could do! Delicious!’

My first two attempts were cooling off in the bin and with much huffing and puffing I got busy mixing up the third, and yes, forty minutes later…  the third cake was fine and mum was pleased.

Years later, and a mum myself, I know that my success that day was not about anything other than this:

I wanted to show mum that she was special.

It wasn’t about a cake. It was about mum knowing I cared.

And me smiling inside.

This post was inspired by Leo’s words about success, on Zen Habits.

He made me stop and think about –

What does success mean to me?  

How do I know when I’ve succeeded?

And I’m asking you the same questions.

For me, I know I’ve succeeded when I’m Smiling Inside.

Here are some of my Smiling Inside successes.

  1. Leaving the house for the first time after an illness.
  2. Writing a difficult blog post and feeling satisfied with it when it’s finished.
  3. Receiving a loving card from my daughter for no particular reason.
  4. Finally persuading the store to give me a refund.
  5. Seeing a plant bloom when I thought it had died.
  6. Hearing my cat come through the cat flap after she’d been out ‘on the tiles’ for 12 hours and I’d been calling and calling…
  7. Working out how to upload photos to this site.
  8. Having my work validated by my readers.
  9. Seeing a turtle amongst the coral when I’m scared of deep water.

For me, my successes and Smiling Inside are invisible to everyone else.

They are my secrets, and every time I recall how I felt about each success, a warm, invisible smile begins.

What does success mean to you?

Is it an outward thing? Like a trophy or an award?

Or does it stay inside?

Header image by cursed thing, post image by Aleasy, both on Flickr.


Filed under action, confidence, failure, fear, goals, happiness, hope, persistence, plans, positive, progress, success

6 responses to “Found! The Secret Sign of Success

  1. christine

    Success for me is about holding on to my integrity and feeling I’ve done the best I could (which explains my pile of ruined knitting – see my post). It’s about feeling happy so yes, it is an inner feeling and something very personal … another lovely, thought-provoking post! Thank you.

  2. success for me is when
    1. I made someone smile
    2. That smile is passed on to another
    3. And it comes back to me

  3. Dia

    Hi Linda,

    Nice post! Success is different to anyone. For me personally, success is when I know I help people. Each person that I help is success for me. Thanks for sharing

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