I could never have imagined as a young child that my life as an adult would include so many challenges and obstacles to overcome. Fairy tales and bed time stories are all about grand plans and dreams with happy endings.

When I graduated from university, I probably should have created a vision board covered with big red X’s to indicate the number of times I should have prepared myself to expect things not to work out. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so traumatic that so many bad things happened in my personal and professional life if I had actually expected them to happen that way in the first place.

Yet, with each hurdle to overcome, I took pride in knowing that I was doing the best I could. It was difficult at times to stay positive and focused when all I had to do was look around at my peers and compare myself to them and their accomplishments. No matter how hard I worked, I never seemed to get anywhere. It was like I was spinning my wheels constantly. My friends would seemingly put in less effort and make leaps and bounds towards their success whereas I’d stay stuck where I was with very little, if any, progress made.

I constantly tried to do all of the right things. I’d read books and take courses on how to improve my life and mindset. I’d participate in workshops and events, all in the hopes that I’d find the magical solution to break free from the circumstances holding me back from the potential that I knew I had within me.

No matter how many of the right things I did; they always ended up a waste of time and led me no where. For many years, this became the unfortunate mantra of my life.

It wasn’t until I’d been in the trenches of despair and self-pity for a while that I realized the mistake I had been making all this time.

The right things I was doing, weren’t the right things to be doing. I came to understand that my path to success had to be created for me, and, by me. I couldn’t just step into the shoes of someone else and make it my personal success story.

It was a mistake that cost me a lot of time, money and sacrifice. I had been so busy trying to copy the strategies and actions of everyone else who appeared to be doing the right things and succeeding, that I didn’t recognize how it was impeding my success and keeping me stuck.

There is a lot of knowledge that comes from making mistakes and figuring out stuff on your own.

One might argue that some of the greatest impacts in a person’s life are a result of their mistakes, disappointments and failures.

I know this is true for me. The moment I realized that I was sabotaging my success by copying others and ignoring my individuality, I made the commitment to myself to do things differently. I decided to journal my thoughts and ideas down on paper. I took the time to understand where I was unique in what I wanted and why it was important to me to achieve it.

Instead of simply inserting myself into someone else’s game plan, I created my own. I took time to understand where I was strong and where I needed some help. I began to surround myself with like minded people who were also trying to figure things out. I embraced others into my circle of influence who were learning one mistake, failure or accomplishment at a time. I wasn’t trying to be anyone else anymore doing things that weren’t aligned with who I was or what I had to work with; simply for the reason that what they were doing was working for them. I was finally giving myself permission to be myself; with all of my glory and imperfections included.

Doing the right things is vitally important when you’re on a journey to accomplishing your goals and dreams. However, it is essential to evaluate what the right things are for you and your personal path towards achieving success. Just because something is right for someone else, doesn’t mean it’ll be the right thing for you.


  • Sarah Gleeson

    Consultant, Speaker, Coach and Author specializing in Leadership and Performance development

    Sarah's professional background in leadership and performance development spans over 30 years. She has worked in various industries and has extensive experience in helping leaders navigate organizational goals and the complexity of human behaviors. She finds working with organizations and helping them to successfully develop their leaders to be strong, effective and compassionate during times of change, crisis and uncertainty to be incredibly rewarding. In addition to being the CEO of SGI Consulting Group, Sarah is an international speaker, consultant, coach, best selling author and writer for multiple large publications. Her personal and professional life are reflections of her message; she is committed to ‘helping people become the best versions of themselves so they can help others to do the same’.