If you could describe a successful person, how would you describe him or her? What would his or her typical day look like?
If you are like me, born into a conservative and traditional world, you may feel the pressure of what said environment tells you success looks like. Maybe it’s someone who works in a skyscraper in NYC, or someone who wears fierce heels, power suits, and expensive designer clothing on the daily. It might be the person we see in every movie-a person who radiates the confidence that comes along with a high paying job, an important business title, and totally together personal life- complete with a disciplined work out routine, family balance, fancy vacations, prepared meal plans. A perfect specimen of human success.
For me, another clear misnomer, is feeling as though being successful is a place you can reach! If you work really hard everyday, one day will you find yourself standing there, as if a bus dropped you off. “Ah ha! Finally, I’m here, I've reached success!”
But, after 28 years of life, I think I’ve finally picked up on a little flaw in my many disjointed, rarely noticed, but ever-present beliefs about success. All of these concepts I have come to accept about success are completely and totally defined by other peoples perception of my life. As if “x “number of people recognize and respect me, THEN I am successful.
So why is that a problem? Is there something wrong with desiring respect and recognition for your hard work? Of course not. But if you define success based on those terms, you may have a problem, because…
The world is filled with “be-littlers”
Regardless of what field you are in, or how you live your life, there is always going to be someone who criticizes your choices as “less valid” than the choice of his or her preference. If you are a graphic designer, someone is going to say, “oh wow, it must be nice to sit around drawing all day” if you are a realtor, someone is going to say, “oh wow, it must be nice to make money for talking to people and unlocking doors” if you are a stay at home mom, well, uh, let’s just say, gird your loins. Anyway, you all get the point. People will hate on you. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do.
Trying to make others happy is an (almost) sure way to make yourself unhappy.
Seriously, once you start living your live to appease the opinions of random strangers, you are almost bound to lose sight of your own true goals and desires. No one cares for you or thinks of you as much as you do- it may seem harsh or selfish in an unattractive way, but it is true. We live in our own skin, and it is impossible for another truth to exist. The words that escape another persons mouth in regards to you, your work, your life do not effect them but for the slightest of moments. But this is not a depressing thought, but rather a freeing one. Your first responsibility has to be to your own happiness, and a great first step, is defining your own values.
So, I’m redefining what “success” means to me.
*Success is being passionately in pursuit of personal goals and never letting the naysayers discourage you.
*Success is standing your ground when the world loves you and when the world ridicules you.
*Success is moving forward towards the version of yourself you dream about.
*Success is not a place you reach; it is a way of life, an every day practice. You can never arrive at success because the closer you get to one goal, the bigger your aspirations become.
Success is not defined by what you wear to work, how many floors your elevator bypasses before you get off at your office, or how much money you roll in at the end of each day.
Success is defined by you and you alone.
Follow your dreams friends, and don’t bat an eye at anyone who doesn’t love their life as much as you love yours.