The 7 Inevitable Stages of Pain Before You Succeed
This article originally appeared on April 21, 2016.
Success is a climb. It’s a journey. It’s lifelong and built with undulating and unpredictable ups and downs. Success is always built upon risk, change, and personal development. The journey teaches you to cope with failure. You learn to get up anyway, and to push onward towards your dreams. Many start their journey with pie-in-the-sky, smooth-road ideals, yet, success is rarely, if ever, that type of journey. If you want to succeed you must have the resilience to face the inevitable.
1. You will feel pain.
Every successful person travels a painful journey. Suffering is an integral and essential part of any real pursuit of success. Nothing about success comes easy, but every painful story has the potential to have a successful ending. You may as well accept suffering as a traveling companion, rather than resist it and create more struggle. See each day as a day that you are blessed with new chances and opportunities to start from the place you find yourself. Uncertainty and stress are inevitable. Both prompt you to make adjustments to mitigate their effects, mentoring you toward further success. A little stress can push you in a positive direction.
2. You will want to give up prematurely.
As you wonder through your more directionless times on your journey, you will experience intense moments of feeling lost and hopeless. It is during these times you must hold tight to your vision and take back control of your motivation. You must prepare yourself mentally to fight that little voice inside your head that becomes a force to reckon with when you have to push yourself to keep going when you don’t feel like it. The quickest way to derail your dreams is to quit when things look bleak. Quitting, when you are on the front lines of these critical moments, keeps you living amongst the average. The successful persevere and rise.
3. You will lose relationships.
As you succeed, there will be a handful of people who will not be willing to support you. Success takes a tremendous amount of effort and sacrifice. The effort and time you need to put into your journey will not be tolerable to some who feel you owe them more of your time, effort or energy. The successful sacrifice an enormous amount to get to where they want to go, trusting that the people meant to travel their journey with them will accept and support the sacrifices which need to be made. You will likely lose relationships with those who do not passionately share in your vision. As you succeed your path will narrow; there are fewer people at the top.
4. People will discourage you.
There is a popular thought that you should keep your dreams close to your chest because if you share them you may pillage them to dream-stealers and naysayers. The human mind is programmed to believe the negative. Negative thoughts are extremely contagious and when you set out on the Road Less Traveled you will have an audience full of small-minded people trying to scare you and discourage you from chasing your dreams. These are the people who want to instill so much fear in you that you shrink. You have to make yourself immune to these influences when you set out on your quest for success. Work quietly and let your success do the talking.
5. You will be hated for no reason.
Reality is, people don’t tend to like other successful people. There is a jealousy that comes along with being different, standing out and humbly chasing your dreams. Small people hate those who have or do everything they lack. Dealing with jealousy can be difficult, especially if you want to maintain your relationships with certain people, or if they are a big part of your life. You may need to let them go. In reality there will always be a certain percentage of people who will not like you no matter who you are or what you do. Use these people and experiences as resiliency training, and reasons to fuel your drive. Success is always the greatest revenge. Learn to let your haters make you greater.
6. You will doubt yourself.
Nine times out of ten, when you start a new venture you will go in and out of feeling utterly paralyzed. It’s because you doubt yourself. Sometimes you may doubt your knowledge, decisions you have already made and you may doubt your instincts. All of this doubt creates an internal conflict over what you need to do to move forward. You doubt because you don’t want to make the wrong decisions and end up in an unrecoverable mistake. Keep in mind there are no unrecoverable mistakes, there are only new directions. You must push through your self-doubt and not allow it to partner up with delay. Doubt and delay, when paired, derail success. On your journey, trust there is no such thing as wrong. The only wrong choice is not making one. You will likely always feel some level of self-doubt, but you can choose not to doubt your choice to stretch yourself and grow. Doubts are an inevitable part of succeeding.The important thing is that you act in spite of them.
7. You will fail.
Risk taking is at the very heart of any quest for success. You must leap into the void of the unknown and see what happens. When striving for success you will consistently face choices which involve risk. Risk is, by nature, scary. You may lose your life savings or lose your reputation. You risk criticism and humiliation. You will likely have to pick up the pieces and start all over again, time and again. On any path towards success you give up what you know for what could be. Hope is your dope. The rewards can be great, but so can the cost. You will fail and you will have to rise. Each risk gone wrong is really a risk gone well because it leads you in a new direction to take a new risk. Failure helps cultivate the virtue of resiliency which you will need for your long-term success. Failure’s purpose is to fine-tune your efforts towards success.
8. It will all be worth it.
To achieve anything you have to think positive about what you are doing. You have to know that what you are doing is right. You have to believe that you will succeed, and you have to trust the process. When the right thoughts and actions are combined there is nothing you cannot achieve. With the right idea, attitude, and thoughts a struggle really is nothing but another essential component of your success. It all starts with you. When you fall in love with a great idea, fate will push you to follow that path. Your vision can impact the world, but you have to really want it. The vision is the prize, not the money or the end results. That is what you are really here for, isn’t it? To have an impact, to make a difference? You can only know your significance through the impact you have upon others. When you see that your success improves and positively influences the lives of others, it will all be worth it. I don’t believe “destination” to be a place. I believe destination is a feeling. It is the experience of what it feels like to deeply move, help, and contribute to the world at large. That type of destination makes the struggle of the journey well worth it.
Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.