Photo by Brandi Redd from Unsplash

F*ck Chasing Success

Chase happiness instead

I’d always wanted to be a writer. As far back as elementary school, I wrote poetry and short stories. In eighth grade, I wrote a novel. It was awful. I kept journals. I wrote essays. More short stories and poetry. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. The more I created, the more creative I became.

But somewhere along the way, that got turned on its head. I wasn’t writing for the sheer joy of it anymore. I was writing for clicks and views. I wasn’t creating out of some primal need to create, I was creating to fit a formula.

I know right where I veered off track. I started a spiritual coaching business with a goal of making six-figures a year. Go ahead, roll your eyes. I am. I’d been doing psychic readings for many, many years, and then had taken a coaching course to expand my skillset and earning potential. I built a website, started a blog, and started promoting my business on social media. Before long, I had my first client, and then another, then another, until my schedule was packed full, and I was making darn good money. Not six-figures kind of money, but I was most certainly on track for it.

It didn’t take long before I dreaded everything about my business. I dreaded writing another blog post. I dreaded creating another freebie funnel. I dreaded call after call after call just to make money.

Something had to change, and there weren’t all that many options.

I could start creating courses, but that would mean continuing the whole marketing push that made me sick to my stomach.

I could start group programs, and even tried a couple of times, but my heart wasn’t in it, so those never went anywhere.

The problem was that I had bought into the idea that “success” was everything, even if the chase for success led to misery.

And I was miserable.

I thought maybe it was my branding or the way I did business, and so for a couple of years I tried pivoting in my business over and over again. New branding. New sessions. New packages. The rapid pivots tanked my income, and while sometimes they were fun during the creation stage, I quickly found myself miserable all over again.

I was chasing success by doing something I was good at that people told me they wanted, even though I really didn’t want to be doing it. My misery bled into my business, and any hope of success evaporated quickly.

Then one day, I decided to quit. Quit my business. Quit doing readings for others. Quit coaching. All of it. I didn’t want to do it, even if it would make me a millionaire, though it probably wouldn’t.

Instead of success, I decided to chase happiness. To focus on doing and being what makes me happy. To write and create the way I’d always wanted to write and create. Not for success, but for the sheer act of creating. Writing novels to write novels. Writing short stories to write short stories.

Something funny happened almost as soon as I made the decision to quit my business. I felt relieved. I felt hopeful. I felt creative again. The ideas, which I’d been struggling with for months in my business, started flowing in again. I picked up a novel that I’d been working on writing years before, and started writing it again. It felt amazing.

So now, that’s what I’m doing. I’m chasing happiness by doing what I love, which is writing.

But it’s more than just doing what I love, it’s doing it just for the sake of doing it. Not for success or fame or fortune. Much of what I write will never be published. Much of what is published will hardly be seen. I’ll publish that novel just for the joy of having published a novel, regardless of whether or not anyone reads it.

Would it be cool if it becomes a bestseller?

Sure. Of course it would.

But that’s not a goal.

The goal, the only goal, is to spend each and every day doing as much of what makes me happy as possible. If success happens along the way, great. If not, at least I’ll be able to look back at my life and say I enjoyed it.

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Queer Heretic Nun. Walking a wild and wicked path of joyful devotion to the Infinite Divine in Her Many Forms.

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Gwynne Montgomery

Gwynne Montgomery

Queer Heretic Nun. Walking a wild and wicked path of joyful devotion to the Infinite Divine in Her Many Forms.

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