Struggling for Success

I was wondering if my day was “normal” compared to other people’s lives.  I was feeling guilty the other day about spending time “thinking” that I wondered if others did the same thing, you know, for long periods of time. 

I was brought up to believe that “working” is a painful and torturous daily event.  The idea of loving what you do for a living, just always seemed like a pipe dream. When I watch celebrities I admire talk about how “hard” they worked to get where they are, I question my effort.  Am I working hard enough?  How do I work harder? I hate that.  When people who are successful decide to impart their wisdom, it always seems to imply that I’m somehow not working hard enough or not doing it right.  That must be true, since I’m still struggling for success. Clearly, had I been working hard enough, I’d be a celebrity too, right? Or flush with cash?  Gotta work “harder” (the constant mantra in my head).

I watched a video yesterday that someone posted on LinkedIn. It was a clip of all these well-known wonderful celebrities talking about how you have to “visualize the life you want and then work towards that…”.  The people in the video were celebs like Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carey, Denzel Washington… I mean, these are all people I admire, but why is it, when I hear what they’re saying, I cringe? 

Maybe because on top of clearly “not working hard enough”, I’m now not “visualizing” correctly?  Ugghhh.

I think a lot of people work hard. Maybe they don’t work right or maybe they don’t work smart, but if working hard is defined by doing what you know to do 150% and doing what you can do 150%, then they’re trying. They’re working hard. And sure, when people know better, they do better. If someone came to me and said, “You’d get this job if you wore a red shirt”, I’d be all over it in a heartbeat! But most people wake up every day and do their best and want their dreams to manifest too. I visualize damn it! Unless there’s some other version of visualizing that you’ve all been keeping secret from me, I visualize!

But maybe the truth is, it isn’t just about “visualizing” or the “hardness” of your try.  Maybe it’s about something else?  From my point of view, doors seem to fling open for some people regularly, but not others, right?  And honestly, I don’t believe it’s because you or I aren’t working hard enough. That just doesn’t make any sense. 

My thinking spot

I was thinking about all of this sitting at the beach yesterday.  I was taking a break before running back and I started feeling guilty because I was enjoying the ocean instead of “working”.  I was enjoying this moment and it felt wrong.  Because work is supposed to be hard and torturous…and “thinking at the beach” didn’t seem like work.   It didn’t matter that I had gotten up at 4am, wrote for 3 hours, answered emails, submitted my resume for three different jobs, sent a client an invoice and then, went out for a run at 9am. My guilt overwhelmed me.  Mind you, in all fairness, this was sort of my lunch break.  I had a list waiting for me when I returned for a one-time client and had blocked off 10-6 to get it all done.  But sitting there, taking in the ocean air before heading back, had me in such guilt mode. Why?

Because I’m not flush with cash.

Because I don’t have enough income at the moment for next month.

Because I’ve gotten so many rejections in the past year for job opportunities that it’s just normal for me to see the emails when I receive them from companies, saying thanks but no thanks.

Because I’ve made ends meet this past year only because of the love of friends who have been amazingly generous and kind – both financially and emotionally, walking me through.   

Because enjoying the ocean air should only be…a treat for someone who has succeeded?

And then it hit me.  It hit me hard as I looked out at the magnificent ocean that always brings me solace… I swear, if it were a movie moment, you would see the slow motion of one tear as it ran down my left cheek and my eyes slightly squinting in that moment of realization: The only thing wrong with my life today is that I don’t have a steady income. That. Is. All.

The fact is I’m healthy. I have friends and loved ones who have more than proven themselves to me this year (not that they needed them too, but amazing nonetheless).  I have a roof over my head, food on the table, transportation to get to wherever I need too and yes, I have this ocean. I can run 3 miles, and with a short break, run a little bit more. This is the first year I’m not angry or frustrated with anyone. I’ve eliminated all the toxic people in my life and I wake up every day with the sole purpose of figuring out what’s next…and writing!  I write every. single. day.  And, in that sense, I love my life!   

I write and dream and write some more – and all of that is in process of three separate projects:  a second book, an amazing idea for a “dramedy” TV show and I’m even working on a play based on my first book CANELA!   

Of courses the money part matters, but the point is, I am okay.  And I’m not afraid of anything.

As far as “visualizing” goes – I believe we are all capable of achieving our goals.  Instead of “visualizing” I prefer the concept that says we are all born with everything we need to succeed. It’s like the acorn. It really has no other choice but to grow up to be an oak tree. With the right soil, sun and water, it will grow up to be exactly what it was meant to be. And if an acorn has a purpose and everything it needs to succeed; then how can I question that I don’t?  Maybe some of us are still in the process of getting all the nutrients we need – maybe we’re just sprouting out of the soil and about to grow and bloom and this is just where we’re at in this moment. At the end of the day, we really have no other choice but to be who we are meant to be. Like the acorn. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not oblivious to all that has happened in this past year since leaving a toxic job with toxic people. There was a huge lawsuit that took too long and emotionally drained me. As I mentioned, I’ve applied to several positions, but nothing has come to fruition YET. I also applied to four separate grants and got rejected by all of them.  Many people, some who I’ve known my entire life,  have let me down. People I’ve helped generously in the past, people who talked a good game when they needed something, were no where to be found.  New contacts who I met “networking” who I thought worthy of my friendship actually turning out to be “wolves in sheep clothing” – a blow to my ego for sure. But in the way that matters, all of this was a good thing (it’s so much easier to eliminate toxic people when you can see them clearly).  My point is, a lot of bad things have happened  – but I believe all of those things have happened as part of the process of helping me get the right nutrients, sun and soil to grow into who I’m meant to be, not continue being who I’ve had to be…  

Another angle – my thinking spot

Perseverance.  I believe in the determination of a person, more than their ability to “visualize” correctly or consistently.   I also believe perseverance trumps working hard, since most people do try every day to move on through.  It’s perseverance that will guide you towards something different.

I know any success I’ve had in my life has been because I didn’t quit.  I didn’t quit as a kid when I thought there was no hope, I’m sure as hell not gonna quit now when I have so much more wisdom than ever before! 

Every time you fall, bruise, get kicked, bleed and feel like you can’t get up – dig deeper.  You can do this because you have a purpose in being here. Just like that damn acorn.  Of this, I am absolutely sure! Get on your knees and crawl if you have too, but get back on up, dig your way out and move forward. We’re in the process baby! Don’t give up.  I know you’re doing your best. Just keep on, keepin’ on. Your time is coming. I know it is!


Your fellow Oak Tree in process.


*I’ve been working on new website but if any of you have any leads, thoughts or ideas, kind comments or constructive criticism, I’m open to all of it. – also, if we’re not already connected on LinkedIn, please reach out to me there as well. I would love to be connected with my wordpress peeps for sure. And, as always, if I can be of any help or inspiration to any of you – feel free to reach out to me at any time!

6 thoughts on “Struggling for Success

  1. Hi,Carmen. Its Nipper your long lost friend. I enjoyed reading your story about the acorn and how you felt guilty for not working hard enough. It was great. I remember of far you have come. I recall that you once fried chicken and worked really hard to get where you are today. An old Vietnam veteran told me one day that guilt is like a rucksack full of rocks, you can always set it down when you get tired of carrying it. Just like the ocean. You found what you needed. A moment of solitude and that is worth more money then we could ever want. Keep up the good stories. I enjoyed that one. Love Nipper Tucker

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nipper! I am laughing so hard for so many reasons! Oh my God! Sweet beautiful man, where have you been? Thanks for reading this — I’m laughing so hard because I don’t know what you mean by “once fried chicken” !!! Hahahahaha! I assume you are talking into your phone and this is a text-to-speech thing, but it had me rolling! But your Veteran friend is absolutely right: guilt is like rocks and I am learning daily to put it down. Thanks Nipper. Sending you a big hug. Thanks for stopping by. xo.


  2. These kinds of pep talks are very cringey. Don’t get me wrong these people work hard, but hard work does not always equal success in my mind, there’s more. Luck, the people you know and being in the right place at the right time all play a part. But hard work is important of course and the value society puts on us is not always the true value of us as a person. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally understand Simon and agree with you. I think people forget what it’s like to actually BE in the struggle once crazy success hits them. Hard work I agree with, the people you know — I’m “iffy” about luck though. Not sure I believe in it. My thinking is, if I believe in luck as a factor, then I have to also believe in bad luck — and I just refuse to embrace that. But I do know what you mean. And yeah, society doesn’t truly value effort of a person, only the end result. You’re so right about that. Now you have me thinking…. 😉



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