How to Handle Success Like a Pro

August 30, 2018 Annie Sullivan


About a year ago, I wrote an article for The Wiley Network, “How to Handle Rejection Like a Pro.” As an aspiring author, I was used to getting rejected—sometimes six times in one day. The rejection letters were not only painful, but also confusing, like the two that came one day apart. One said my fairytale retelling was too dark. The other said it wasn’t dark enough. It seemed near impossible to please anyone in the publishing industry until I finally got the “yes” I’d been waiting for.

Annie.jpgThen, while vacationing in Antarctica, I found out I got a literary agent, and I was over the moon! I finally had a literary agent after searching for a year, but now what?

Now, I had to get a publisher. My agent and I spent about six months revising my story and then we waited about six more months to start hearing back from publishers. And the answer was usually “no.”

Yet again, I found myself getting rejected. But this time, the rejections hurt worse. There was more at stake. However, I told myself I’d made it through months of rejection before—I could do it again. While my book was out for consideration, I started working on other books.

Then, the day finally came. My manuscript, A Touch of Gold, about the cursed daughter of King Midas who has deadly gold powers got an offer from an imprint of HarperCollins called Blink. Eight years after I’d started writing the book, I now had a book deal.

I’d gotten the “yes” I needed to make my career dreams complete. But it turns out success comes with challenges all its own. My life became a whirlwind of writing publicity articles, posting about the book on social media, and setting up book signings and conferences all while trying to keep up a 9-to-5 job and a social life. It reminded me of a meme I’d seen in college that listed good grades, enough sleep, and a social life with the caveat that you could only pick two. My problem was I was trying to maintain all three—and I was burning out.

Here’s how you can handle success while maintaining a balanced life:

1. Prioritize sleep.

You won’t be at your best if you’re exhausted. Take the time you need to recharge so your performance won’t suffer.

2. Make detailed to-do lists.

The first thing I lost control over when I got swamped was my memory. What article was due when? What day did I set up that book signing? Had I sent my headshot over to that contact? By making a list and crossing off items as I went, I had a visual reminder of not only what I still needed to do, but what I’d already accomplished. 

3. Set boundaries.

You can’t do everything or be everywhere all at once. If you can’t delegate tasks, prioritize them. Figure out the most important ones that must get done and accomplish those. Don’t feel guilty that you can’t do as much as you could before.

4. Be gracious.

Whether your success is in your company or on the world stage, be kind and gracious no matter what. Accept praise with humility. Brush off the jealousy of others the same way. Never feed the trolls.

5. Extend a helping hand.

There’s no better way to appreciate where you are now than by helping someone else who wants to be where you are. Sharing your knowledge with a mentee, friend, or colleague is a great reminder of how far you’ve come and a way to pay forward your success to help others.

Following these five tips will help you handle success in a humble and thoughtful way because you never know if there’s another “no” around the corner—and your determination may just be the inspiration another person needs.

Image Credit: Annie Sullivan


About the Author

Copywriter, Wiley //

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