11 December 2019

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory!

As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!

Emily Dickinson wasn’t yet 29 when she wrote that poem; it was published anonymously five years after its composition. This week, we celebrate her December 10 birthday; Dickinson was born in 1830, and died on May 15, 1886, at age 55.

She wrote over 1,800 poems in her short life. Only 10 were published before her death, none with attribution, and only one, the above, was included in a book of poetry.

Food tastes best when we’re hungriest, water goes down sweetest when we’re parched. And success is dearer the harder we’ve worked for it. We most truly savor what our greatest efforts have earned us.

As Emily Dickinson’s life reminds us, success comes in different forms. Unheralded in her lifetime, she is now considered one of America’s greatest poets. She must have known her work was good – that she had succeeded as a poet.

Let’s take time to appreciate and be grateful for the successes we have had, and also to appreciate the efforts we have made, the good work we know we have done.

As 2019 draws to a close, I am grateful for the successes, material and non-material, I enjoy. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work hard, to improve the lives of others, and to succeed – in whatever way (or ways) I choose to define success.

I wish you joy of all the good things 2019 has brought you, and an even more successful – on all fronts – 2020!

Please click here to email me directly – I would love to hear what success means to you!