Finding True Success: Know When to Change Your Direction

Finding true success requires recognizing when you need to change direction. Often, we are so focused on succeeding, we fear changing direction and that’s how we fail. However, it doesn’t need to go that way. If you understand what works for you and what doesn’t, you can easily avoid blaming yourself and move forward in a better direction. 

If we can’t see how something can work, it’s too easy to just give up. But you don’t need to do that if you understand that going a different way is not failure. What’s most important is to recalculate what works and what doesn’t work, and move forward.

We need to reframe a common perception of failure.

Let’s take a look at how this can work.


Finding True Success – What That Looks Like

To me, success is following a path that nourishes you, possibly challenges you, and is something that you enjoy. There are many other definitions of success that people may choose to use. For example, one could define success as truly helping others.

Sometimes a path is challenging, but if it gives you meaning in your life, I believe this is valuable. 

We all have our more challenging days of work. However, if in general we can sit back and feel good about what we do, or provide for others or enjoy doing, I see that as success.


Why People Often Give Up Too Soon Instead of Changing Direction

You’ve been there, we all have been there. We want something and begin to work towards getting it. However, somewhere along the way, we hit a block. How can we move forward towards success when something is truly not working?

  • It’s very common for people to fear changing direction because it will be seen as a failure.
  • Sometimes we give up because we can’t see another direction to follow. We hit a roadblock as they call it.
  • Other times, we may be afraid to move forward for fear that we will try again but will still fail. So it will feel like an even bigger failure.

There are numerous reasons that people give up before finding true success. Sometimes instead of seeking assistance, they give up because they begin to feel incompetent, or that others will judge them.


There Are Often Consequences of Giving Up

  • Losing confidence in ourselves
  • Fear of looking bad
  • Feeling that we failed or are a failure
  • Concern that we will never try something new again
  • Feeling stuck in a work position that doesn’t fit us
  • Feeling lost in terms of our next direction


Fear of Failure – What This Can Do to You

Sometimes when people feel they have failed, there is so much shame they experience, that they make a decision to never risk moving forward ever again. But when you can understand and accept that making mistakes or sometimes failing at something is normal, it can be a game-changer. 

If we see the humanness in us, it allows us to make mistakes and learn from them. We can then move forward without shame.

This creates a game-changer in our life. We are then able to leave the shame behind and move forward towards what will fulfill us in life. Without fear of failure and shame, we can continue to move forward because we believe in the humanness of everyone. Even us.

In addition, when we accept the humanness in us, it allows us to move forward. And to leave behind our fear of judgment.  These two things are what often get in our way and keep us from moving forward.


How to Change Your Course and Succeed

Sometimes we don’t have enough information about what our path will entail. If this is the case there are at least two options: one is to find someone who is experienced in the area you want. Another way is to research what is involved and how to get involved with that field.

Sometimes you might need further education or training. It’s worth it if you are following what feels interesting and right for you. How will you feel if you don’t try?


How Do You Know Where to Go From the Starting Point?

If you believe that you really want to change your direction it’s important to do your homework. For example, do you know what is required in terms of that position? Do you need to go back to school to take relevant courses? Are you wanting a certain path to look good or because others expect you to do you to take that path?

You may want to consult someone who is already doing what you want to do. Sometimes a field offers beginning positions or internships.

Often, you can see a college counselor who can help you determine your path, especially if it will mean going back to school to train.


Holding the Course Even if You Need to Tweak Your Direction Along the Way

It’s easy to give up when we can’t see the final outcome. But that doesn’t work and blinds us from what can be a more fulfilling path.

If you make a list of all the benefits you will get from following your course, you are less likely to let go of something that is important to you. Conversely, if to struggle to find benefits on the current path, then it is easier to pursue a different path.


Final Words

Finding true success is not always easy. Sometimes it’s really difficult to let go and to change one’s direction. Other times changing your direction feels like a failure, and the “unknown” can feel scary.  Navigating the “unknown” can be really uncomfortable.  

However, the alternative is to “stay the course” and make no changes, even if you truly dislike the course you’ve been on for many years. Some people will choose to “stay the course” because of all the hard work they have put into a career, relationship, etc. That’s not necessarily “failing”, however. Some people are just more comfortable with the “known” things in their life. That’s ok, but it doesn’t always make you happy.

If you want to truly follow what feels better for you, then do your research. Talk to people who are already doing what you are contemplating. Go the course and do what is needed to make that change if you truly want it.

There’s no shame in staying put in some situations. But remember, enjoying your life is better for your mental and physical health. 

It’s your choice.

About Susan Saint-Welch

Susan Saint-Welch LMFT has counseled couples and individuals for many years on issues such as dating, marriage, family drama, coping with difficult times, improving self-image and living the life you love. She provides psychotherapy for clients in California and Dating, Couples and Life Coaching for clients outside California through secure video conferencing. She has published numerous articles regarding these issues on her website, on and on

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