This saying is trustworthy: don’t take advice from anyone unless you agree with their definition of success.
If you want to go to Detroit, don’t get in the car with somebody headed to New Orleans. One of you is going to end up very disappointed.
If you want to get lean, don’t take nutrition advice from a body builder. If you want to bulk up, don’t design your workout after a marathoner.
If you don’t agree with someone’s definition of success, their advice is no good to you.
From time to time my apprentices and I will discuss advice and writing ideas we’ve seen on the Internet. There’s a lot of stuff about writing and publishing out there, and a lot of it doesn’t agree. That’s because the advice givers disagree on what “success” even is.
Some “gurus” believe that success is making a lot of money with your writing.
Other “gurus” believe that success is expressing yourself beautifully and creating amazing art.
Still other “gurus” believe that success is having a positive self-esteem and engaging with writing as a creative outlet.
These people are each going to give drastically different advice. To their credit, by their definition of success, it may very well be amazing advice. However, if you don’t agree with their definition of success, their advice may do you more harm than good.
I happen to be one of those “gurus” myself. When I come across advice that I disagree with, I find that it’s not always offered in greed or malice, but rather that other person is trying to steer writers to a very different destination than I am.
Most of the time people don’t go around broadcasting their definition of success. We may have to watch somebody for a while and look at the fruit of their life to see where they seem to be pointed.
In our case, I want to make it easier than that for you. Around The Company, we’re a complex and nuanced organization, and there’s room for lots of perspectives, but I believe there are three driving ideas behind our definition of success.
In order of importance, we believe that success is to:
- Maintain your Christian values no matter what.
- Step into your calling and create awesome media with the Lord
- Build a financially sustainable full-time vocation.
That’s where we’re headed. That’s where our advice and our courses are designed to take you.
If that’s a destination you’d like to arrive at, you’re in the right place. Dig in. Don’t hold back.
If that’s not exactly the place you’d like to go, you’re still welcome to come and eat at our buffet. We love having you here. But just be aware of what you’re getting.
In my case, I believe that destination is my apostolic mandate from God. That’s what He’s called me to do. He’s called me to use my experience and values to lead people to that destination.
What’s your definition of success? Ten years from now, how will you determine if your efforts have paid off?
Take some time to think about that. Even more importantly, ask the Lord what His definition of success is for your writing.
Once you know your answer, pull out of the stops. Cast off everything that stands between you and that goal, surround yourself with people who agree with your definition, and then don’t stop.
Most importantly, stop listening to gurus who don’t share your definition of success, even if they sound really smart. You will have so much more peace in your writing when you eliminate those confusing voices from your life.
May the Lord open doors for you to connect with people who define success in a way that matches His plan for your life.
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