11 Hard Lessons That Made Me More Successful in 2017

Everyone fails at some point in life, and failure can be a crushing experience. The only thing that separates successful people from the rest is how they respond after they fail.

When facing obstacles, you have to decide if you’re going to let them be the excuse for your failure or if you’re going to make them the story behind your success.

“There is no failure. Only feedback.” -Robert Allen

Earlier this year, I decided to embark into the exciting world of entrepreneurship. Although I knew I had the experience and education to endure this journey, I didn’t realize how much I would learn in the process.  For example, I learned that the tactical skills such as building a website, consulting, blogging and participating in speaking engagements are the easy parts. The soft skills such as tenacity, perseverance and attitude are the harder ones to master.       

When you adopt the right attitude, failure is a great teacher. Failure interrupts your routine and gives you an opportunity to explore new solutions, but only if you have the right attitude.

Psychologist Carol Dweck posted that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.  Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

People with a fixed mindset, believe they are who they are and they cannot change. This creates problems when they are faced with challenges and obstacles because they feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They embrace challenges by treating them as opportunities to learn something new and grow from them.

Some of the best lessons in life are also the toughest to accept and to adopt the right attitude toward. These are the lessons that challenge your flexibility and willingness to learn. When we don’t embrace them soon enough, the lessons we learn turn out to be harsh ones.

The first step is always the hardest. When you want to achieve something important, that first step is inevitably going to be daunting, even frightening. When you dare to make that first move, anxiety and fear dissipate in the name of action. People that dive headfirst into taking that brutal first step aren’t any stronger than the rest of us; they’ve simply learned that it yields great results.

Good things take time. Success, above all, requires time and effort. Author Malcolm Gladwell suggested that mastery of anything requires 10,000 hours of tireless focus. Many successful people would agree.

Being busy does not equal being productive. Look at everyone around you. They all seem so busy, running from meeting to meeting and firing off e-mails. Yet how many of them are really producing, really succeeding at a high level? Success doesn’t come from movement and activity; it comes from focus—from ensuring that your time is used efficiently and productively.

You will always have less control than you want. There are too many extenuating circumstances in life to control every outcome. Your reaction is what transforms a mistake into a learning experience and ensures that a victory doesn’t send your ego through the roof.

You’re only as good as those you associate with. You should strive to surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who make you want to be better. And you probably do. But what about the people who drag you down? Why do you allow them to be part of your life? Anyone who makes you feel worthless, anxious, or uninspired is wasting your time and, quite possibly, making you more like them. Life is too short to associate with people like this. Cut them loose.

People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They embrace challenges by treating them as opportunities to learn something new and grow from them. Click To Tweet

Your biggest problems are mental. Almost all our problems occur because we time travel: we go to the past and regret things we’ve done, or we go to the future and feel anxious about events that haven’t even happened.

Your self-worth must come from within. When you feel good about something that you’ve done, don’t allow anyone’s opinions or accomplishments to take that away from you. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

Not everyone will support you. In fact, most people won’t. Some people will inundate you with negativity, passive aggression, anger, or jealousy, but none of this matters, because, as Dr. Seuss said, “Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter.”

Perfection doesn’t exist. Don’t seek perfection as your target. It doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible.

The devil is in the detail.  Some things seem simple at a first glance, but these ‘simple’ tasks are often the ones that take the most time and effort to complete.

Fear is the number one source of regret. I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you—the worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.


Bringing It All Together


Successful people never stop learning. They learn from their mistakes and they learn from their triumphs, and they’re always changing themselves for the better.


What other harsh lessons have shaped who you are today? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Wishing you continued success in 2018!  


Cheri Clancy, MSN, MS, RN, NEA-BC, CPXP


This post was written as part of  the #CarnivalOfHealth, a Pop Up Blog Carnival hosted by the Healthcare Marketing Network.  

More great posts by freelance healthcare writers on this topic can be found on the Healthcare Marketing Network blog.

If you are a healthcare freelance writer or blogger and are interested in joining our tribe and participating in future blog carnivals, sign up here to receive notice of our schedule and topics for 2018!



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