Friday Musings: On Success

When I first got this little orchid, it had three beautiful flowers. But within a month, the flowers had withered and died. I thought my orchid was a goner. But the leaves were still green, so I brought it to a new environment and continued to care for it. It took time, but my orchid has blossomed again. I think it just needed a change in perspective.

When I first got this little orchid, it had three beautiful flowers. But within a month, the flowers had withered and died. I thought my orchid was a goner. But the leaves were still green, so I brought it to a new environment and continued to care for it. It took time, but my orchid has blossomed again. I think it just needed a change in perspective.

I used to think success was:

  • Having a steady, 9-5 job in a prestigious field for the rest of my life 
  • Impressing others with my outward achievements
  • Owning a home and all the fancy stuff to fill it 
  • Having a lot of money 

As I strived for those things, I wasn’t happy, or satisfied, or fulfilled. I didn't feel successful. There is nothing wrong with the list above, but I realized they are not accurate measures of success. I was doing what society wanted me to do in the endless pursuit of "things." I realized I was following someone else’s path, not mine.

I’ve learned that my definition of success is something different. It's doing what I think is best for me and what aligns with my values, even if it isn't the norm or unpopular. I want to pursue my goals and dreams and succeed living in an untraditional way. And I want the freedom to change course and try something new. I want to inspire others to do the same… to be true to yourself.

Right now, at this very moment, my vision of success is:

  • Trying something different and succeeding 
  • Overcoming my fears and realizing I do have the capacity to do the things I want to do (like write books, and make beautiful designs, and live creatively)
  • Constantly feeling curious and invigorated by new experiences 
  • Working through the hard parts because of the satisfaction it brings 
  • Making a small difference to someone else

This vision translates in many ways. For family and friends, success means having an open mind and listening, mutual respect, and showing up. A successful relationship for me is supportive, honest, and generous. Success at work means making a positive difference and challenging myself to stretch beyond my comfort zone. Financial success is living within my means. Success in creativity means taking risks and trying new things.

To me, success is being true to yourself, being there for others, continuously growing, and always keeping an open mind.

So I guess what I’m saying is….Define YOUR OWN SUCCESS!

For more on defining your own path and determining what success means to you, see my post on Creating a Roadmap.