When Success Is Framed As Alignment, There Is Room For Us All

I have to admit something to you guys.

As much as I like to think I’ve arrived at a place where self-doubt doesn’t have its hold on me, there are moments when I’m reminded that's just not the case. Self-doubt is a natural part of leading an authentic, creative life. The secret is in how we answer those moments of doubt, which is a lesson I had to learn yet again recently.

I’ve been working on updating the Better Lettering Course for the past few weeks, and honestly I’ve been really enjoying myself. It’s been so long since I focused solely on lettering, and in turning by attention back to the course, it has reinvigorated my love for the art form that first awakened my own creativity.

But, as I’ve been diving into the course and the world of lettering more, I’ve also become aware of just how many lettering sites and resources are now available out there — many, many more than there were a few years ago when I started the course.

I search the word “lettering” on Pinterest this weekend and was instantly confronted with a sea of images of talented artists and ways that they are teaching lettering.

Upon seeing this overwhelming group of people doing something similar to what I'm doing with the lettering course, this is the question that immediately popped into my head:

Is there even ROOM for me here?

That’s a question I’ve asked in one way or another so many times over the course of my creative career.

Is there even room for one more personal growth blog? 
Is there even room for one more acrylic abstract artist? 
Is there even room for one more online business in a sea of so many?

Have you asked yourself a version of this too? My guess is you have because this is a cunning way for our Fear to stop us from ever trying or pursuing the projects that call to us. "There's already so many ____________ out there, why should I even bother." That's a convenient way for us to excuse ourselves from making things or taking a risk, isn't it?

Now, let’s actually break this question down and really try to understand what it is our ego is asking here.

First off, it's a question born out of a scarcity mentality about how the world works. What does this idea of ROOM mean anyway? It assumes that there is one Table of Valid Successful People and that there is a finite number of chairs around that table. That's kind of BS, right? Life is not a zero sum game. There is no such table, and there certainly isn't a finite number of ways for us to become Valid Successful People.

Which brings me to the next underlying layer of this question: What is success anyway?

This question inadvertently defines success based on achievement rather than alignment. When we ask ourselves “Is there room for me?", what we are actually asking is “Is there room for me to be successful?” We don’t realize it, but it’s our ego hungering for validation and fearing failure.

One of the most profound shifts I’ve made in my life is changing my definition of success from being achievement-based to being alignment-based.

No longer do I define “success” exclusively in the sense that people buy my products or like the things I make. Those things rely on achieving some form of external validation, and I’ve found that no matter what milestone I hit when pursuing external validation, ultimately it only leads my ego to hunger for more or to aim even higher. In other words, it's a recipe for dissatisfaction.

On the flip-side of that, however, alignment-based success says that the goal is to design a life and business where I can live out my core values on a daily basis. That is the source of all things good for me: happiness, satisfaction and freedom.

So when I ask “Is there room for me?” and I do so in the context of comparison or self-doubt, I’m slowly allowing myself to drift right back in that old achievement-based success framework, one where something isn’t worth doing unless I can gain financial success and visibility. That’s NOT what I want my life to be about chasing after.

When I shift this framework back to alignment, I can ask the question again, this time with a clarifying addition:

“Is there room for me to do the work my heart is calling me to do?”

When I frame it that way, I'm able to see that the primary goal in pursuing this idea or project in the first place is to express my core self. To follow a hunch or a passion or a curiosity or desire that is stemming from inside the deepest part of me.

And when I frame it that way, I can see much more clearly this definitive answer: YES. Yes, there is ALWAYS room in this world for people doing the work their hearts call them to do. 

“There is ALWAYS room in this world for people doing the work their hearts call them to do.”

Whether pursuing this desire becomes financially successful or not, I can’t guarantee. Whether anyone will actually read the blog you want to create or see the film you can’t help but want to make or buy the lettering course you are sprucing up… those are all questions you'll have to answer based on the unique relationship you're hoping to cultivate between your creativity and your income.

But if we’re simply talking about this question of “is there room for me?” OR "is this thing worth trying even though there is so much already that has been created?"… my answer will always be yes.

There is room for me and there is room for you and there is room for us ALL to make the things we’re called to make. There’s a galaxy's worth of infinite room where we can all try and learn and experiment and teach and lift each other up as we do so.

The moment we assume that there is one container limiting the expansive potential of each of us, we deprive the world of witnessing the beauty of our collective vibrance.

Next time you find yourself down a deep rabbit hole of self-doubt, asking yourself if there is room for you to do that thing you so deeply want to do, shift yourself back to a framework of alignment rather than achievement.

Remember that YOUR goal is not to succeed “in comparison” to anyone else, but instead your goal is to rest your head every night knowing that you did everything you could to release the gifts you have inside you.

The world could use more of that. The world could use more of us all.

My question of the week to you is:

What will you do with your room? What will you make? What will you try?

That's it! Have an amazing week! And THANK YOU sincerely for offering up a few minutes each week to read my words. It means a lot to me!