Creative LeadershipCreativity

Does Anyone Really Care About Your Success?

One of the truisms about success, is that when you achieve it, very few people will understand or care what you went through to make it.  They won’t know about the long nights, the early mornings, the rejections, the failures, the re-writes, the financial problems, or the loneliness.  They see the result, and that’s pretty much it.

So start right now to realize that very few (if anyone) will know how much success means to you, or what it cost.  The Israelites grumbled at Moses despite everything he did for them, few of Thomas Edison’s friends knew about the 10,000 failures that went into inventing the light bulb, and very few understand the long hours, hard training, and pain that an Olympic champion endures.

But do it anyway.

During your most difficult times, your spouse may criticize you because he or she doesn’t see the anguish you’re experiencing, your co-workers aren’t aware of the extra hours you put into the project, or your best friends will feel ignored.

But you understand.  You know the price you paid.  Most others weren’t there in the trenches, so you can’t really expect them to understand.   It will hurt that they don’t, but don’t stop and don’t give up.  And most of all, don’t hold it against them.

The audience of one matters.

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  1. Fortunately for me, my husband is my partner and we are there to walk through the difficulties with one another but I will never forget a comment someone made about me years ago. It was ten minutes before curtain at the theater I was volunteering at and I had one more person to finish before taking my place on stage. I was designing the make-up and the hair for a large cast musical. It was a lot of work. He stood there watching me rush about to finish and said, “But things come easily to you!” I almost kicked him in the shins. I worked my butt off teaching myself all kinds of skills to make myself better at my job at the time…make-up artist/hairstylist/wig expert. I learned my craft over a long period of time without a lot of instruction…make-up schools were few and far between in Central Fl at the time. I did have a mentor but I learned most of what I knew from trial and error.

    I’m still like that. If I need to learn something, I go at it because I understand that the time it takes to learn something new or improve on is part of the process and not always the goal. I will always be a student and allow myself to learn. I think it keeps me young in my thinking and gives me an edge. Hard work toward excellence is it’s own reward. People will notice excellence but unless they themselves have gone through something similar they will not appreciate it other than what they see and that is okay. It has to be okay as films, scripts and other art does not come with the artist’s explanation of what was going on while in the process of creation. The work has to stand on it’s own…as it should be. Your success is then measured by the heartfelt response of the audience…large or small, you still need the reaction “atta-boy” to make it truly satisfying and fortunately for me, that has outweighed the more tepid reactions to all of my efforts on their entertainment behalf.

  2. There is a saying which I’ve tried to live out which goes along the lines of ‘much can be achieved if you don’t care who gets the credit’

    I’m not into my success, rather than the success & effectiveness of what I’m trying to communicate.

  3. Very good question… i think when it comes to it the only people that will stand next to you, parents, pecialy in the hispanic culture. But i think that no one cares as much as the one going after success….

  4. There will always be people who “just don’t get it”. This is one of these examples.

    It takes a visionary to do something outstanding and when ever the others around them aren’t capable of seeing that vision, is it any wonder they don’t see that hard work that went in?

    Just because we might have the vision doesn’t mean everyone else will see it. Most only ever see the end result.

    Excellent work Phil and thanks for the encouragement.

  5. Phil Cooke
    “The audience of one matters.”
    How well I know that.
    It took seven decades for me quite really to grasp the joy in that truth. I am so glad to have found it.
    I reached this post via a tweet from @dave_carpenter
    I love finding gladdening things.

  6. Oh, my, can I identify with this. On so many levels. Thank you for saying so clearly what I’ve thought to myself or voiced to my understanding wife a thousand times before.

  7. This really speaks to me, Phil. I have over 40,000 hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in a magnificent project, that is just now becoming ready to disclose.

    I’ve lost friends because of my perceived (and real) neglect, and I’m sure my magnificent obsession is considered foolish by others. I live though, in the rarified air of the few who dare to give their lives to something extraordinarily worthwhile…and I am immeasurably enriched by the journey.

    My hero is Borghlum, Mt. Rushmore’s sculptor, and the parallels are striking. What I’ve accomplished should have taken the whole Creative and Marketing Departments of a Time/Life or a Hallmark.

    God has been faithful…and He has found me faithful. At the end of the day, that’s all that will matter, as far as I’m concerned: To hear those words, “Well done!…”

  8. I become successful at anything I put my hand to whenever I trust the Lord not just with a project but with my whole life. When I’m walking with him, I’m able to hear what he wants to reveal to me and he will put things in front of me. There is no strife when I’m in zone with him. When I’m not walking with him, things go haywire because I’ve gone off the path and listening to the wrong voices. Therefore, it no longer matters whether others care. If God be for me, who can be against me?

  9. This is so very true my friend. I constantly hear people complain about people who are rich or of good means but they don’t know what hard work, long nights, extensive education, and so on that they had to go through most of the time. They would care more if they had more successes of their own.

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