Stop comparing yourself. The biggest enemy to progress is the act of comparing your success to someone else’s. Remember that we’re not meant to succeed at the same pace, we’re not meant to have answers by a certain time in our lives, we’re not even meant to have life figured out.
Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities, or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.
As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Andréas Ruth B. Deolinda.
Andréas Ruth B. Deolinda is a poet and writer passionate about using her craft to inspire change in every aspect of life through thought-provoking discussions. Through her out-of-the-box approach to writing, she hopes to inspire her audience and advocate for the power of education to give voice to individuals in all walks of life.
Andréas is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Psychology Research and holds a double major BSc degree in Biochemistry and Psychology, and two BA Honors degrees in Psychology and Drama Therapy. Discover more about her work: Website: www.lockenwords.com, Instagram: @andy_deolinda
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
My journey to realizing and trusting myself as a writer is probably the most defining period of my life. For a long time, I battled with defining what my purpose is in life. As a woman of faith, I have always prayed for God to show me what my purpose is. The irony in that is writing poems was natural to me. But I didn’t see it as my purpose because I had a false idea of what purpose is and this is especially challenging as a believer. After all, you grow to believe that it’s this grand act that is revealed to you.
I spent a lot of time believing that the career I pursued in school would become my purpose. Until I heard a sermon that spoke about how one’s purpose is aligned with the gifts and talents you’ve been blessed with — that was my lightbulb moment.
Realizing it was one thing but trusting it was another. I went through a phase where I stopped writing altogether and that was probably the most difficult part because it was and is such a big part of me.
Today, I look back and am filled with this overwhelming conviction that this is where I needed to be. I know the industry is saturated, but I have a dream and know where I am headed. Even though right now I don’t know how I’ll climb that ladder to work for one of the biggest newspapers or publications in the world. But I know it’s in my cards.
We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?
I used to believe that success is what we see in the physical, be it the riches of life — the houses, the cars, the expensive assets, etc. In truth, those are rewards of true success.
I believe that true success is internal. It’s those little accomplishments after climbing a hurdle you never anticipated surpassing (metaphorically speaking); it’s those moments where you believed in yourself when no one else did and you chased that dream amidst the uncertainty.
In short, you must be successful in the mind before it can manifest in the physical because the physical manifestation of success does not happen overnight — it takes determination, resilience, being willing to fail and try again. Your mindset determines your success.
How has your definition of success changed?
I went from thinking that success is being able to afford the riches of life to realizing that it is in the moments when you feel like you’re at a dead-end and find ways to break through. The pandemic has taught me so much about myself. It has taught me to live in the moment, take it one day at a time, and focus on the things which make me the happiest.
The past two years have taught me to be conscientious about who I am, where I am, where I want to be, and what I need to do to achieve my goals.
In moments I felt at my lowest, today I look back and am overwhelmed by how much I have endured. I realized during this time how much I let go of myself, my dreams. I began chasing financial security and struggled to get back on my feet, but my biggest eye-opener was when due to the pandemic, I was impacted financially and lost a job.
It was at that time that I began walking in my purpose as a writer and persevered with my goal of pursuing a master’s degree in Psychology Research. I began to write again; my creativity sparked the moment I took control of my life and am now I have been accepted into the master’s program.
So, I define success as stepping out into my power, realizing my capabilities, and taking back control of the part of me that I lost. The biggest irony is the fact that I have found success during a time where darkness was all I could see.
The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post-pandemic?
We need to realize and embody the power of togetherness.
The pandemic revealed a lot of things that we as a society took for granted — the freedom to go anywhere (local or international), the freedom to interact with our circle. We essentially became prisoners of the world with nowhere to run. The greatest part is that we collectively lived the same reality. And in the darkness of it all, we became united.
Irrespective of the shade of our skin, wealth, social status, we were forced to face our demons in the confinement of our homes. We didn’t have a choice. The ugliness of the world was revealed from the #blacklivesmatter movements to the #EndSARS movement — we found unity and stood together for change.
There’s power in unity and we achieve success as a society by rising together against the injustice in the world.
What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.
I have always been a people person; always went above and beyond and showed up no matter what. With that came a lot of blurs in terms of who were my real friends and those who weren’t but because of the person I am.
Through the distance brought about by the pandemic, being in lockdown opened my eyes. Somehow the distance offered me clarity. I went through so much since the pandemic and realized how silent my world became and how distance became more than just literal, it became figurative in terms of the relationships I held dear.
I learned that less is more when the few people you keep in your corner are the real ones who truly have your back. Those who don’t leech at your kindness but those who reciprocate the warmth, heart, and kindness you have to offer.
I learned about myself as well as I reflected more on my circle and where I went wrong because true reflection is looking internally at what you could’ve done wrong that led you down a dry path. As for me, I allowed myself to become available to everyone, and I lost touch with myself. I allowed fear of loneliness and not having friends to grasp onto what appeared as the ideal bond of friendship, but the reality was that I became a groupie.
In short, the greatest gift the pandemic offered me is the gift of finding myself and holding onto true relationships.
We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Look internally
Often the answers we seek are within us. We are always in search of meaning whether it is about our purpose in life or the meaning of life in general. This is especially true if you’ve gone through something that has left you in a dark tunnel with seemingly no way out. Trust that you can! You have all the tools you need, you just need to do the work to heal and find your OWN voice.
2. Stop comparing yourself
The biggest enemy to progress is the act of comparing your success to someone else’s. Remember that we’re not meant to succeed at the same pace, we’re not meant to have answers by a certain time in our lives, we’re not even meant to have life figured out.
Comparing yourself is essentially taking away the blessing that was meant for you and halting it even longer because you’re trying to live a life that isn’t yours. Stay in your lane and walk your path.
3. Find your purpose
True success is aligned with what you can do best. No one in the world can do what you do better than you. Two people can be experts in the same industry, but you’ll find, that one may more relatable than the next and therefore drives more revenue than the other person. That’s because that person has found the most efficient strategy, and it works for them; the other person can try to replicate it, but the results won’t be the same.
The purpose is aligned with what you love most, what you can do best, and the talent that makes you stand out from the rest. Find your unique and expand on it.
4. Never stop moving
In our chase for our dreams, we may meet hurdles along the way but never stop moving. Those little missteps are exactly what we need to retrace our steps, figure out where we went wrong, correct it and claim back our power. Failures only reveal the loopholes in our strategies, they’re not meant to halt our progress.
5. Be your own cheerleader
Allow your voice to outshine the cheers of others. Whether we like it or not, not everyone that cheers for us has the purest intention towards us. Be your own motivation, and don’t become dependent on the approval of others. At the end of the day, you’re the one making the sacrifices so don’t forget to pat yourself on the back.
How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?
We would be at peace! At peace with ourselves, at peace with the world, at peace with the choices we make, at peace with knowing that we are doing what we can and that there’s no sense in comparing our success to another person.
The pandemic has taught us that life is truly short, we may one day wake up with the ones we love but the next never see them walk the earth again. It has taught us to truly reflect on how fragile life is. It has been a reminder to live life in careful recklessness — by that I mean to live life boldly, unashamed, never holding back, and going for what we want.
I am a person of Christian faith and this pandemic has taught me the essence of walking in faith and trusting that there’s a higher power. When there were moments I didn’t know how I would make it through, I came out of it and that was not by my own strength.
Therefore, our definition of success would be so much healthier when we allow ourselves to live and trust in our abilities in remembrance of the faith that has carried us through to this day.
What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?
I believe that the biggest obstacle is myself and the negative thoughts I feed myself that make me believe in something other than the greatness I am capable of achieving.
Many of us allow our lack of self-esteem or our comparisons of others to dictate our successes. Society has us believe that at a certain age, you need to have achieved a certain level of success or we look at social media and compare our lives to the influencers we admire most.
We live in a perpetual state of being “seen” as successful — we want something to show to the world that we have made it. And when we don’t meet those standards, our self-esteem plummets, we question ourselves and measure our success by what we “should’ve” achieved based on a false timeline.
There’s no timeline to success, success shouldn’t be measured by our view of others or by the “by now” mentality i.e. I shoulder had a car by now, I should be married by now…To be honest we can’t even blame others because we allow it.
My advice to conquering this mentality is to remind yourself of how far you’ve come, focus on YOUR vision, find your purpose or calling (this is linked to your gifts or talents), and just work at it every day. Do what you can and keep going!
Where do you go to look for information and information about how to redefine success?
Sometimes when we find ourselves in a better position than we were previously, our brain naturally blocks out the hurt, pain, or otherwise that we may have felt in that moment. It is a way to keep us safe.
For me, journaling and writing poems have been a tool I used to let go of what I am experiencing. Today, it’s the reference I return to when I need a reminder of what I have already overcome. Because life will always press us in moments we least expect, and when those moments happen, we easily forget where we were which in turn feeds helplessness. But when you go down memory lane, you’ll be shocked to realize that you are living an answered prayer.
It will always be okay in the end, trust that you are capable, trust that you will make it, and trust that there’s a God or higher power that will sustain you through it all.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.
I would absolutely love to meet #OprahWinfrey and chat with her about life, the current best reads. She is truly such an inspiration and there’s so much I would love to ask but mostly, I want to listen to her and learn about Oprah Winfrey the person, not the icon. My goal is also to write for her magazine, so if she reads it, I hope she considers my ask.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Please check out my website: www.lockenwords.com and follow me on Instagram: @andy_deolinda where I share my poetry. You’ll likely get a burst of goofy banter from me here and there so be sure to check me out!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.