I have been thinking a lot about success lately, or rather–my definition of success. I believe that society has conformed and most people believe success hinges on two things: money and social status. Arianna Huffington said it well,
There are, or course, still millions of people who equate success with money and power–who are determined to never get off that treadmill despite the cost in terms of their well-being, relationships, and happiness. There are still millions desperately looking for the next promotion, the next million-dollar payday that they believe will satisfy their longing to feel better about them-selves, or silence their dissatisfaction…More and more scientific studies and more and more health statistics are showing that the way we’ve been leading our lives–what we prioritize and what we value–is not working. And growing numbers of women–and men–are refusing to join the list of casualties. Instead, they are re-evaluating their lives, looking to thrive rather than merely succeed based on how the world measures success.
Recently when I was talking with my younger cousins, who sometimes feel like nieces, daughters and sisters, they told me that they thought I was so put together and I just have this perfectly conformed life. I just laughed and told them I would share more with them when they are a little older. But, I truly wish they could see me on a daily basis: Spilling coffee on every outfit I own, being late for important events, missing important events all together, running out of gas, locking my keys in my car a dozen times in three years, having ginger ale sprayed all over me and my kitchen, realizing I’m wearing a dress that is see-through half way through the work day, dragging screaming kids all around town, feeling so tired that I don’t have the energy for one more thing.
All of these daily, ordinary things that make me who I am. That shape the decisions of my life. Making mistakes only to learn, reflect and reform. Learning to laugh at how stupid I can be sometimes.
When I think back to years past, my definition of success has changed so much in the last 3-5 years. Five years ago, I thought it was: career and social status. Two years ago, I thought it was: chasing after passions and purpose. Today in the present–success feels like getting through each and everyday, and trying to do a little bit better every day. Striving to improve MY personal best. Striving to serve God in all that I do everyday. But not living in the past, not living in the future. But doing the best I can every day with what God has given me.
Success is and will always be different for every single person. To the person sitting on the other side of this screen: stop measuring your own success by the measures of others performance. Measure your own success by reflecting on where you have been, and where you have arrived at in the moment.