Redefining Success

We all have these ideas about what success looks like.

Warning: We’re going to see how many times I can use this word in this blog. Spoiler alert – it’s a lot.

Dictionary.com defines success like this

Success (noun). 

  1. The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals
  2. The attainment of wealth, position, honors or the like.

Success is as universally agreed upon as it is variant and ever changing. As people, we put a lot of time and effort into what  looks like for our lives.

So let me pose this question –

Does your vision of success align with your passions and your wants? Or does your it align with what you’ve been told success should look like? Is it closer to the dictionary definition?

See, I’ve always been a goal setter and a task-oriented person. It works for me. I have ADHD – my life needs structure, dang it. Because of this, I set goals. I have goals at work, things I have to do at home, so on and so on.

And you know what? Mama get’s stuff done.

But I realized, a few years ago, that my idea of what success was, wasn’t really mine.

My idea of what unlocking all the levels of my life would be like, had become determined by those around me and what they envisioned as a successful life looking like. A college degree. A good job. Nice house. Garage door with opener. 2.5 children. You get the idea.

I was sold. I told myself that if I could achieve those things, I would be considered successful, so of course, this would equate to eternal happiness.

Want to know what I learned?

You will only create an environment of happiness for yourself, if YOU define what happiness and ‘success’ looks like.

I had become the textbook definition – I was accomplishing things. Getting it done. My endeavors were fruitful…yet I still didn’t feel that burning sense of success that I was expecting to feel.

All I ended up doing was checking the box on things that I thought would make me feel like Mary Tyler Moore throwing my hat in the air…except I was the person in the background picking it up off the ground for her.

Trust me, I know how first world problematic this sounds, “Oh my gosh, she’s achieving things and still feeling sooo unsuccessful…blah de blah blah blah.”

But hang tight.

Yes, I was doing things that were propelling me forward, in my career, financially, emotionally. These are good things to have happen and I am eternally grateful that they have. Without these things I wouldn’t be who I am now – and let’s be real, I’m pretty cool.

While I was doing these check box things, I had stopped doing the things that made me happy. I had stopped chasing dreams that I wanted to chase. I had shifted my life in a different direction because somewhere along the way, I allowed those dreams and ideas, be discredited by the world around me, because they wouldn’t get me to this place of pre-defined ‘success.’

Riddle me this – if you could do the one thing that lights you up, and makes you see colors a little bit brighter, and makes your heart beat a little faster, and makes you feel like you’re leaving the world a better place than when you found it – wouldn’t you do it?

So why aren’t you? The question I asked was, ‘Hell, why am I not doing it?’

Three years ago I woke up with this urge to write. I hadn’t written in years, but it was stirring inside of me and I had to get it out on paper.

That was the same day I realized that your life can only be ‘successful’ if you define what success means to you. Don’t go to Webster and look it up. It’s not there – at least not really.

Instead of defining ‘success’ – define what makes you feel most like yourself. The things that bring you joy and the things that you want to wake up excited to do every. single. day.

I sat down and made a list of my own:

  1. Love hard
  2. Write
  3. Be authentic to myself
  4. Help others
  5. Leave the world a better place than when I found it

Suddenly, it all made sense. Everything I do and did and wanted to do – lined up. It all fell into these categories. I wanted to continue spending quality time with my kids. I wanted to write in some form or fashion. I wanted to do work that helped other people. I wanted to be unapologetic about having a foul mouth and quick wit and laugh with people who appreciated it.

If the things I do, make me, and only me, feel accomplished and like I’m being authentic and living in alignment with these five things, then I am successful.

And if the things you do make you and only you, feel accomplished and like you’re being true to yourself and living in alignment with the things that bring you light – then you’ll be successful too.

Don’t let your definition of happiness and achievement for your life become quantified by this one word, ‘success.’

I’m redefining this word – here and now. Success is no longer an adult participation trophy! Ya-Ya!

Success (n.) A state of being, in which the person who is living the life they’ve been given feels completely true to themselves, and will find joy and happiness in the things they are doing.

New Definition. Spread the word, y’all.

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Mother of three. Writer extraordinaire. Lover of art and music. Consumer of chocolate and wine.

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