SUCCESS. I feel like it’s such a loaded word. For some, “success” can mean accomplishing a measurable goal such as having a career that puts you in the Top One Percent Earners in the country or winning the Nobel Prize. For others, it can mean crossing everything off on their Bucket List. Whatever you consider to be “success,” we generally want it right away and without any setbacks.
“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill
I experienced many setbacks, and I decided way too often that the setbacks were failures. I hated failing. I used to hate failing because of my performance-oriented nature. I hated not achieving certain goals right away. I was also a people-pleaser, so I would hate feeling like other people saw me as a failure. In my early 20’s, I went from job to job while many of my friends were already set in their careers or pursuing their Masters Degrees. Career wise, I felt directionless when I quit dancing professionally. I think my 23rd year was probably the toughest year for me in regards to feeling successful because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to pursue, and I really felt that I couldn’t be considered successful unless I was making a lot of money and in a “career,” as opposed to living paycheck to paycheck working a “job.” And through all this, I lost a lot of enthusiasm.
After struggling financially for a couple more years, I got a job at Washington Mutual (which was later bought by JPMorgan Chase) in California as a Foreclosure Specialist (I basically acted as a liaison between the mortgagors and the attorney’s offices). My favorite part of the job was when I was able to forward mortgagors’ files to the department that handled repayment plan set-ups because that meant the customer would not lose their house. I made a decision to work hard and have integrity in what I did, which led to opportunities for promotions. I was promoted to a Business Analyst role and then eventually to a Project Coordinator. To make the long story short, by the time I left the mortgage industry, I was a (very high-paid) Senior Technical Writer. I left my career to homeschool my daughter who was about to go into the second grade at the time. I went from making the most I had ever made to making nothing.
In my blog last week, I said,
“If you don’t succeed in your definition of success, know that IT IS OKAY.”
It took me many years to get to that point. By the time I left my career as a Senior Technical Writer, my definition of success had changed. When I was in the corporate world, my definition of success was making a lot of money and having a very important role where I was highly valued. But as my desire to homeschool my daughter grew, that was no longer my definition of success.
In my former definition of success, I would consider myself unsuccessful; but in my current definition of success, I AM THERE!!! I currently make way less than 25% of my former salary (much less right now because of the current Coronavirus Pandemic), but I love that I get to determine my work schedule (as a Wellness Entrepreneur, it is so important to stay disciplined with my schedule – more on this topic next week), homeschooling my daughter and having fun together (she is now finishing up her sophomore year in high school)… and I get to spend some quality time with my husband when he isn’t working from home or studying for his MBA. I also get to help people for a living. I get to help people slow down and be present through Yoga and Meditation.
Does your definition of success include intangible things, such as your level of gratitude, compassion, joy, or ability to love deeply? During this time of self-isolation, my hope for you is for you to do (or continue to do) some inner work in order to achieve success that is great and long-lasting.
Have a great week!