Monday, April 27, 2009

Success is fleeting,... unless.....

This past weekend, I had the honor of attending the LDS Storymakers Writing Conference. It was a wonderful experience being surrounded by so many talented people who made me realize the importance of working hard and never being complacent.

There are a few times in life when I amaze myself. Today is one of those days.

Not because I am so wonderful and creative, but because I simply have the most incredible dumb luck at times! Once again I digress as I get off on one of my ADD tangents. I’ll begin at the beginning….

After getting home and mulling over all that I learned and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the gratitude of being able to help, meet and learn from so many wonderful people, I finally remembered that I needed to do my blog posting .Since I had arranged the tour over a month ago, there was no way that I could have foreshadowed my thoughts and feeling on this particular day. I looked at today’s Life Saver and smiled. It read;

“Unless you’re the lead dog, the view is always the same.”

Publishing is an interesting business. As authors we are always trying to step up one more rung on the ladder. If you are unpublished, you want to get a contract. If you are published, you want an agent, a bigger contract and a national audience. If you have a national audience and an agent, you want to be on the best seller lists. And once, you’re there, you want to stay there and do it better and better and better…..

I’ve been lucky and had an amazing amount of success – success that others merely dream of. I’ve hit the national market, done TV, radio and hit the charts high on Amazon. I’ve seen my name in print in prestigious publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Financial Content and big papers across the nation. I’ve seen my name go as far as England, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. But I look at J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyers and Richard Paul Evans and even some of my closer acquaintances like James Dashner, Josi Kilpack and Janette Rallison and think, “Man, I have a LONG way to go!” I watch other closer friends like Candace Salima, Annette Lyon, Michele Bell and Tristi Pinkston who have more knowledge in their little pinkies than I have in my entire noggin and think, "There is no way I can ever catch up!"

Discouragement sets in and before I know it, success is out the window and I’m a failure. Thankfully, God knows me well and slaps me up the side of the head every once in a while and places opportunities in front of me that get me outside of myself and focused on others in a positive way. It’s when I have the ability to serve and follow in the footsteps of the only lead dog who matters – the Savior.

And when I do that, the level of success suddenly does not matter but the route in which we get there – flowing in His footsteps following His lead – does.

I came out of Storymakers so incredibly grateful that I have been placed in positions where I could help fulfill the dreams of others, learn from others, teach others and spur the hope of others. But mainly, I am grateful for the opportunity to be used as an instrument in His hands for blessing the lives of others.

It’s true; success is fleeting -- unless you look at it as an eternal proposition. And if you do, not only your success, but that of others, becomes an eternal gift that is satisfying where ever you may be on the success spectrum.


Anonymous said...

In the words of Baz Luhrman: "The race is long, and in the end it's only with yourself."

I have to tell you that you are one of those people that I look up to and hope to do as well as some day!

Karen Hoover said...

As one of those you have greatly affected, may I offer a simple, heartfelt thank you? It was a pleasure and honor meeting you in person this past weekend and hope I have many more opportunities to learn from and enjoy your company.

Big hugs!

Chas Hathaway said...

I know how you feel. I always have to remind myself to never compare my stuff with others. I try to learn from others, and continually improve, but no matter how good you get, you'll never be the best of the best. Better to be the best you!

- Chas