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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SOAPBOX: Debating Success

I was listening to an interview on the radio recently talking about entrepreneurs in the State of Iowa.  Apparently we are ranked ahead of the national curve for residents starting up their own businesses, but are lagging way behind on these businesses "taking off" to the Fortune 500 level.  Granted I didn't hear the whole interview and may have misunderstood the intent behind the statement but it kinda torked me off.

What is it with people in this country assuming bigger is better?  Why is it presumed that everyone should climb the corporate ladder and every business owner should want their business to expand to monolithic proportions?  Aren't small, stable businesses just as valuable an asset to our economy as those corporate giants who employ thousands?  Aren't those smaller businesses more likely to retain their employees during recessions like the one we've been experiencing?

It's not just the business world either.  Writers are just as guilty of this mind game.  We dream of agents and publishing contracts and the NYT list and having sales like JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyer or (insert any blockbuster author here).  That's great, and I'm not telling you not to dream about those things, but rather to ask yourself if that's what YOU want?  We've been programmed to believe those are the measures of success for a writer, and so we decide that's what we must achieve.  But are they the appropriate measure of success? 

I'm not here to get into a debate with anyone.  In fact, I've deleted two whole paragraphs of my rant and am stepping off my soapbox now leaving it free for someone else.


Anonymous said...

I am so there with you! Gone are the small mom and pop businesses because of the mentality bigger is better. A small gas station is razed to replace it with a big super-mart filling depot. I had a boss tell me "you'll never climb the corporate ladder that way". Yea, like that was a dream of mine. What's wrong with being hired to do a job, to do it well and to achieve satisfaction from just that? We are being made to feel that if we are not the prettiest, the thinnest, the smartest, the fastest, the richest, the biggest and number one then there is something wrong with us. No wonder so many can never find contentment.

Katie Mills said...

I have very little hope or desire to be the next Stephanie Meyer. That kind of success is flat out scary to me. I want to write books for people who like the kind of books I write. I'd rather have a small group of people who really enjoy my stuff and look forward to the next than to be headlining journals and magazines.

Jules said...

According the financial guru's it is small businesses that will lead us to the top again or at least out of the endless hole we are in.

Are you back yet? or am I still reading re-runs? :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Carolyn V said...

That's actually good to think about.I don't think I want high success, but I want smart success.

Hannah Kincade said...

I just want to be someone's favorite author. That's my goal. I don't care if it makes me money or gives me success. As long as there's one person out there who enjoys reading my books, I'll continue to write.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Oh yes, I agree with you! It's pretty sick, in a way, that success is measured with prefixes like "mega-"

Thanks for reminding us to enjoy and celebrate the small successes, instead of looking off into the distance at what some mega-person has achieved. :)