Updated: Aug 3, 2021
The Biggest Flex Before 30 Is Understanding that Success is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Thirty is not the universal summit nor threshold of success. It's simply a milestone in the number of years you've been on earth. Alternatively, personal success measures on a scale that only you can determine.
Hindsight is 20/20. I'll share my story with you.
My early to mid-twenties were a blur. I remember like three parties, a kid growing way too fast and saying something about funding the dream. There were lessons. Lots of them. There was fun. Lots of it. I also worked hard, laboriously hard. I remember thinking that 30 would arrive at some point - whether I acknowledge it or not.
Consequently, the mid to late 20s became somewhat stressful. I overly despised any failures and shortcomings I experienced during this time. I had no stock options and honestly had no clue what that meant. I did not own anything except my 2008 Impala, and it needed an oil change.
Basically, I was coming off a decade of fun, hard lessons, and even more challenging work. But, no success.
Then, just like that, I was 30. It wasn't at the stroke of midnight or even within the first week, but somewhere along the way, a few things about life and success became clear to me.
The most straightforward thing of all was: Personal success is just that personal, meaning it's defined by you.
Cheesy? Yes. True? Yes, again.
Think about it. When you envision your dreams, typically, it's an end goal you see. If you don't believe me, check social media and tell me what your peers (and you) are posting about your lives. It's sure not the inevitable fails, countless hours of learning, awkward videos of not getting it right, or any of the other jagged behind the scenes.
Even Beyonce waited until she was of stratospheric superstardom before she showed us she was only human.
The bottom line is we are all only human, and our paths are different, shaped by countless experiences and happenings.
Success setting a goal, then working to meet and/or exceed the said goal. It's also important to understand that having not reached a significant goal does not negate the smaller wins on the way.
While some people hit their ultimate goal in their 20s, others peak later.
A late bloomer, that's what Copywriter and Creator of Talking Shrimp, Laura Belgray, referred to herself as, considering she didn't hit the heights of her career until far beyond her 30s.
"It's easy to feel behind when you scroll Instagram and see teenage influencers raking in billions from lip gloss, or overhear 20-something tech kids in line at Starbucks, talking about their Tesla collections and early retirements," she writes in a recently posted editorial via Global Thrive.
Her comment refers to the social media wormhole that we all have fallen into, questioning our own lives at the scroll of a peer's sunny beach vacation or 3rd time hitting their six-figure year, when you are still working on your first.
Thirty is theoretically only a third of your life. Naturally, you, like many, would like to arrive at your point of success soon and as early as possible.
Take time to celebrate the small wins. They are literally paving the way to your ultimate goal. Also, recognize the lessons you learn along the way, just in case you see them again. It will teach you to "weather the failures," as Berger wrote, the art of understanding that you had seen this obstacle before and overcame it, and you will again.
I learned that the road to success is rocky, but it's going somewhere- exactly where I intend to end up. The key to a successful arrival is remembering why I started, continuously plowing forward, and not accepting the setbacks as dead ends. Also, I, just like my 20s, celebrate the small accomplishments on the way and don't take it personally when peers arrive at their destination a little sooner.
Written by: Kay Campfield