Kate Marolt Monday, April 12, 2010

I haven't felt compelled to write in here for a long time. However, today one of my former mentors, Patrick Combs, asked the following question, and as it was very timely and relevant to a situation in my life, I responded, and wanted to share my response as well as additional thoughts on the question.

What is your best habit or trait for success? What has resulted in the most success for you?

I would like to preface my response by saying that while there is success and failure in all different aspects of my life, when I read this question my thoughts went to success within myself and how I treat other people and the world, and that is how I would like to respond.

For me it's about my personal relationships, as they affect everything I do. When something goes wrong, I figure out the root of the issue, try and place myself in the position of the other person or people involved, and always give them the benefit of the doubt. If I am angry at someone, I figure out what qualities in myself have brought out that anger. By placing the responsibility on myself to determine the way I feel and interact with the situation, I am able to handle things calmly, kindly, and with the right degree of importance. I incorporate the same practice into my goals and experiences. If something goes wrong, or I fail, I re-frame what happened so that it turns into a positive learning experience. This isn't always easy, but if I am persistent about it, every outcome eventually takes on a degree of positivity and I am able to move forward.


It has taken me every single day of my 21 and a half years to get to this point. I have gone through many cycles of depression, battled countless insecurities, and spent many days feeling worthless. I am nowhere near perfect. I have done hurtful things, I have lashed out in anger, and I have isolated myself and rejected everyone who cares about me.

But that is my past, and my response above is what I am working on in order to construct my present and my future. I experienced a situation a couple of days ago that gave me the opportunity to see just how far I have come from the person I used to be. In order to keep anonymity for the other person involved I will not go into details, but this was a situation in which I could easily have been cast as a victim. My initial reaction was to be angry, to cut the other person down with biting words that would tear down their character.

Instead, I took a step back. I was fortunate enough to be able to put a bit of time and distance between myself and the situation, but I was able to compose my thoughts and my feelings enough through journaling, exercise, and meditation in order to respond to the situation calmly and without creating more trouble.

Getting angry and being a victim may feel good in the short term, but overall not only does it not solve anything, but it may escalate a situation even further. The person in question apologized and asked for my forgiveness. And while this does not excuse this person's actions, I understand that this person was not trying to hurt me, and that this person would have to live with their actions, while it was completely in my control how I responded and felt about what had happened. So I forgave this person. I impressed upon this person that what had occurred was not okay, but love and kindness are what matter far more than anger and cruelty.

By forgiving this person, I was able to forgive myself for my part in the experience, and I was able to let go of what may have been a lot of pain and darkness. I am not beyond the situation yet, nor will things between me and this person remain the same, but I can remain centered and myself, integrity and self-awareness in tact.

Lastly, in order to continue to feel love for this person as a human, I found a way in which I could thank this person for what had happened, even if I was only thanking them in my head. I thanked this person for the opportunity to test my inner strength and my self respect, as well as for letting me down- because by letting me down, this person made it necessary for me to acquire the tools and resources to pick myself back up.

Bringing this back to the question of success, it is experiences like this that pull me through hard work, frustrations, and failures. By being able to turn any situation into a positive, growing experience, I am able to persist, have breakthroughs, sustain love for every living thing, and keep being inspired by all of the beautiful things in the world.