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By Noelle Brooks

5 Scary Truths About Success. Woman in blue button up making a scary face.

The struggle to succeed is universal. There are countless articles, books and cat posters dedicated to how to do it, what it should look like and how fantastic it will be once you achieve it. However, there are certain realities few of us like to admit. Below are five truths about success that may be scary but should be embraced:

Self-made is a myth.

The story of the spunky, hardworking dreamer who built their business with nothing but two dollars and a lot of hope is a familiar one. However, even the most independent trailblazer needed help somewhere along the way. Whether it be a supportive teacher, a professional mentor or just a reliable friend, relationships are crucial to success. They are valuable resources that provide connections, knowledge, and much needed support. Without them, two dollars does not go very far.

Failure is inevitable.

Let’s face it. No one likes to lose. Unfortunately, to succeed you have to embrace failure. While a few do make it big their first time out, this is not the norm. It is almost a guarantee that your first big swing will be a miss. Not embracing this truth prevents you from actually reaching your goals. So get comfortable with this fact. Make your peace with it. Invite it over for a game night if it helps. Just accept that you will fail, and with each loss, you are getting closer to that big win. Cheesy, but true.

Having it all is impossible.

Sacrifice is a part of true success. You cannot reach the top without losing some people or opportunities along the way. This does not mean being a lonely, workaholic whose best friend is the janitor, but rather giving up certain things to reach your goals. The key is determining what truly matters and what is the best way to get there. Recognize that sacrifice clears the path to your success.

There is always someone cooler than you.

I know it. You should know it. Ben Folds knows it. And he was a hipster before it was cool (or not cool?). Anyway, the point is, there is always someone out there who is doing it better, bigger and faster. While this may be disappointing, it should be a source of encouragement. Use this fact to motivate you, to push yourself out of complacency. Additionally, if you pay close attention, you can learn from others’ successes and failures.

Sometimes quitting is the answer.

No matter how great an idea is or how well you execute a plan, sometimes, it just does not work out. Maybe your idea is too ahead of its time. Perhaps you are not as passionate about it as you thought. Or maybe it is just not something the world needs. It is important to know when it is time to move on. Also, be careful not to confuse hyperactivity with productivity. It is easy to stay busy with things that do not matter. Do not fall for this trap. Know when it is time to stop and reassess.

Success is not and should not be the same for everyone. Follow what sets your heart ablaze, even if it does not make sense to other people. Be honest about what you want and what it will take to get it. Accepting these truths about success does not make the path easier, but can make it clearer.

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