Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Define Success

How do you define success?

Married?  Two kids?  White picket fence?  Labradoodle?  Salary?  Social circle?  Beauty?   Career?  Inner calm?  Physical fitness?

All of the above?

I thought I had a definition of success.  In my mind, you were successful when you reached the place where you were married, with two kids, a cozy home (not too big, not too small,) a lively and supportive social circle, a nest egg, a career that paid for everything, family vacations, a good education, and health.  One parent was always available for the kids, either due to job flexibility or being a stay at home parent.

Over time, my definition shrunk.  You were considered successful if you were married and had a family, with a nice little house and a few family vacations or stay-cations every year.  Ideally, someone was always available for the kids, and there was a stay at home parent until the kids reached school age.

From there, it further shrunk to involve a partner and a family with a supportive social circle, a safe home, and a healthy community.

All of my definitions of success involve having a family.

And here I am, in my late 30s, without one.  Single as a sliver. 

So if you ask me if I'd consider myself a success, I'd quickly reply with a definitive no.

Until tonight.

Success.  I have a great job, career, actually, that I love.  There is limitless room for growth and expansion in this career.  I am recognized as an expert in my area (which still makes me very, very uncomfortable.)  I have financial independence and security that I built for myself.  I have a home that is just right for me (even though I now want different) and in a safe area where I feel comfortable.  And despite all my health challenges of the past, I'm on a forward moving road to neutralizing my health overall, thanks to the most incredible support team in the world.

Success.  Family is not mentioned above.  Yeah, I have my brother and his wife and the peanut, whom I adore.  I get to be an aunt and enjoy the love that comes with that.  But I have no partner.  I share my house (still not quite a home) with the Pup and an aloe plant.  And I've kept that aloe plant alive for nearly three years.  Success.

Not quite what I pictured when I pictured success, but for now..... I'm working on changing my image of it.  Re-framing success, if you will.

How do you define success?


  1. I suppose because each person is influenced by different things, our definition of success varies. You have made me think with this post and I realise my definition had definitely changed.
    As a child it was very simple. Write a book and get it published and be able to earn enough money from writing to buy myself a nice house with lots of pets. Have a husband and children.
    Since then though, and more recently it's been set to smaller goals.
    Finish my degree in one go, work in my area of expertise, get my own house, keep a nice circle of real friends, have economical freedom.
    That is my current vision. Note that there is no longer husband and children involved, and that is because after getting out of an abusive 4 year relationship, all I want is to have my own company and space.
    I suppose as the years go by that will change too though.
    Take care dear
    Mandy xx

    1. I hadn't put the idea of influence into the picture..... but you're right. Looking above, I do see how my ideas of success were quite influenced by society as a whole. The idea of a set of smaller goals makes progress toward whatever idea of success is present a lot more manageable! Keep on moving my friend!


So? What do you think?