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What Does it Mean to be Successful? Featured

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What Does it Mean to be Successful?

I successfully returned from the Ventura Writers Weekend and I set to work. Within five days of coming home, I had three pieces accepted for publication–that has never happened before.

As I wrote one of the pieces (“Promotion for the Painfully Shy”, due December 1st) I wondered about how others become successful in the face of obstacles.

Serendipity gifted me this: Eight Things Remarkably Successful People Do.

When I was thirteen, I sold 354 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in my first year as a Girl Scout. I managed to make contact with people all over my community. I was shy back then, but I was on a mission to sell the most Girl Scout cookies ever. I don’t remember why.

When I was fourteen, I pitched myself as a journalist worthy of my own “Teen Talk” column in the local paper, The Friday Flyer. Part of my job involved interviewing local students about their school.

I attended a public charter school for one year, from fourteen to fifteen. I was Student of the Month, Student of the Year, and on the Honor Roll. I was asked to give speeches when accepting the awards.

I graduated from High School as Valedictorian at sixteen, with additional honors in Creative Writing and Poetry. My valedictorian speech was printed in the local paper.

Everything I had set out to do, I had made it work, despite the fact that I had occasional panic attacks that brought on sobs of anxiety. No one knew, except perhaps my mother. But she knows everything.

Looking back at that time when I was successful in that way, there seems to be a parallel between what I faced (give up the goal or overcome the anxiety) and what someone might experience if they came across a loved one trapped under a car. There is no back-up plan, no time or room for failure. The fact that the car must move means the person will find a way to lift the car. That lifting two tons of metal is impossible doesn’t fit in the equation.

I was raised by a remarkably successful woman; how much she rubbed off on me or how much she encouraged me to just be myself, I don’t know. But I have learned to anticipate how much work is required and I embrace the challenge, especially if it means I can help others along the way.

By Joanna Celeste

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