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.
- Leaving the house for the first time after an illness.
- Writing a difficult blog post and feeling satisfied with it when it’s finished.
- Receiving a loving card from my daughter for no particular reason.
- Finally persuading the store to give me a refund.
- Seeing a plant bloom when I thought it had died.
- 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…
- Working out how to upload photos to this site.
- Having my work validated by my readers.
- 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.