Vivian.jpgToday I have the honor of interviewing Vivian Eisenecher, author of Recovering Me, Discovering Joy, and a sought after speaker, mentor and writer since 1996. Her other published works include articles for Chicken Soup for the Soul and Woman’s World.

Her inspirational story has been enthusiastically received by churches, companies and corporations, national organizations and national associations. She is passionate about reducing the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse. She loves helping people meet their potential and discover joy in their lives!

Question: I love the definition of authentic success that you give in your book. You spell out PROCESS as an acrostic and go through the seven components of process. Could you abbreviate them here for my readers?

Vivian: Authentic success is not a destination. It is a PROCESS that includes: Perseverance, Resilience, Openness, Compatibility, Enthusiasm, Self-esteem, and finally, Spirituality.

Perseverance – The ability to stick with a project or situation until it is completed regardless of setbacks and disappointments.

Success in many things comes word-by-word, step-by-step, or stroke-by-stroke. Nothing is mastered in one giant leap forward. I thank God everyday for the gift of ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ He has so graciously bestowed upon me. Perseverance has allowed me the successes I now enjoy, and continue to build on every day.

Resilience – The ability to roll with the punches, to deal effectively with life’s adversities. To continue to move forward even after failure.

I can’t begin to relate to you how many times I tried to stop drinking and failed. I would bet I tried to quit fifty times. So, what if I hadn’t made that fifty-first try to quit? I’d be dead! Boy, am I glad I decided to get up and try one more time. Today, I have deep-rooted resilience, and it is such a tremendous advantage for which I am grateful every day.

George Patton once said, “Success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom.” Well, I’m on a bungee cord to the heavens, and I’m taking everybody I know with me. I am sitting on one sweet victory, and the opportunities my failures have awarded me are astronomical.

Openness – This includes open-mindedness–being receptive to other arguments or ideas and open-endedness–not rigorously fixed.

To remain successful, we must consider any success as an open-ended project. It is a fluid, evolving experience, not a one-time event. In my mid-forties, I figured I had attained all my goals. I had a beautiful boy and girl, a nice home, and I was happily married to a successful husband. I was even a good tennis player, which was very important to me at the time. By the standards I was brought up to believe in, I had done well. I had ‘arrived!’

I had arrived all right, and was on the brink of complete destruction.

I had what looked like success, but I didn’t have authentic success. Why? My thinking was closed-ended, and my life was at a dead-end. I had stopped imagining. I had stopped dreaming. I wasn’t open to new challenges, new opportunities for success.
We must look at every completion as a new beginning. Today, I have learned to leave the door open, and listen for new thoughts…