What Success Really Looks Like

Mar 8, 2016 | Anxiety, Blog

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We often think that success, whether it’s success in terms of our own personal development, in our work, in our relationships, or a hobby – should look a ‘certain‘ way (ie. perfect and linear!).

When we look at other people (for example on social media), we see them going from strength to strength, but actually the reality of success is very different (see picture below) (pic source)


I see this all the time with my clients; they’re making progress with reducing their anxiety, they’re feeling more positive and confident, and then something happens which knocks them off course. Their self-assurance takes a knock, they have a bad day, they experience rejection in some form – and it knocks them for six. They forget all the amazing progress they’ve made and all they focus on is what went wrong.

But here’s the thing; It’s so important for us all to remember that success in anything is rarely a steady incline, there will still be ups and downs, set-backs and times when you want to give up or stay in bed all day. The key is to see the bigger picture and trust that;

Click to Tweet! You are making progress, even if it doesn’t seem like it on that particular day.

I was reminded of this when I was snowboarding last week.


Anyone who’s learned to snowboard will know that it’s particularly frustrating to learn, you spend a lot of your time falling over on your bum and trying to heave yourself up again. It’s enough to break the spirit of even the most determined among us (and nearly all of my snowboarding friends will confirm this!)

There are days when you lose your nerve, days when you fall down head first on your back down a black slope (we call this ‘reverse turtle!), times when you feel like crying, but throughout all this, you are making progress and getting better all the time (even when you’re falling on your arse). 

As in life, there are ups and downs. If you judge the whole week on the bit where you fell over and felt like screaming in frustration, you’d be doing yourself a massive disservice.

At the end of the snowboarding week, I looked back and saw how far I’d come since the fiboardingrst day and realised what amazing progress I’d made.

So rather than judging yourself for those times when things aren’t going so well, see it as a stepping stone to things getting better. It’s often the tough times, that make you stronger and wiser for the future.

Think about your life over the last year – what progress have you made? What have you learned? What challenges have you overcome?

When you look at it this way, you’ll see that you’re always making progress, whether or not thing’s appear to be going well right now.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments about one specific situation you’ve made progress in over the last year, even if there were ups and downs! Let us know in the comments.

 Wanna feel calmer, like, now?

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  1. Sophie

    Just read this, end of the day on a friday, a time when its sometimes hard to think of the achievements of the week over the difficult times. Such a powerful thing to be able to learn that we are progressing and achieving all the time. Hopefully we will eventually be able to get this message across to young children starting school and teenagers under pressure. This new years day i wrote a letter to last year, a letter of achievements, triumphs and stumbles. It was a great way to see what i had achieved and learnt from and how much we do when we think we’re doing little. Many thanks

    • Chloe B

      Thanks Sophie, you’re so right. I love the idea of writing a letter of achievements, I like to do that too.


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