How do you define success? Do you define it by monetary means? Do you define it by personal connections? Can we be successful in one aspect in life and still be waiting, working towards success in other areas of life?
These questions are ones that we all tackle at one time or another. For as long as I can remember, success has always been one of those things we talk about, but it has never really been one I ever accepted for myself. The lack of feeling of being successful has haunted me through most of the aspects of my life. Sure I was good at what I did, be it as a veterinary technician, paramedic, custom picture framer or even as a writer, but success in these fields has always seemed abstract and something I would never achieve.
Even when it comes to my personal life, I have often used an unrealistic yardstick to measure how successful I am. When my confidence in my self image was lacking, success was defined on whether or not I passed as a women when out in public. It didn't matter that nearly all my customers saw me as female. It didn't matter that I never once got a questioning look when using a public restroom. I still had my doubts even after transitioning. It doesn't matter that when my divorce comes up in conversations that everyone, for those who didn't know my past life, assumes my ex is a guy.
But as I get older, maybe a bit wiser or more experienced, I have started to realize that success is an abstract thing that no two people can compare. For some, success is being that CEO of a major cooperation. For some, it's having the means to being a stay at home mom and home schooling your family. And for others, it's simply coming home from work satisfied with a job well done for that day.
When I was asked recently about how I defined success for myself, I started to really think about the success I have seen in my life. I don't do this very often. I am the type of person who tends to dwell too much on what I deem as failures. I tend to use someone else's yard stick to measure my own life and if you haven't learned this by now, that's not a healthy habit to have.
So as a mental health exercise I encourage you to do what I have done today. Go through areas of your life and add up what you feel you have succeeded in, no matter how minor they might seem to be. As I have told my son, a base hit is always better than a strike out.
Having an essay in a book by a major publisher and having a author page on Amazon is awesome. Being a Google search term is pretty freaking cool. Many would consider having a blog for over three years is a success. But when I boil everything down, what do I need to look at when it comes to being successful?
I have to learn that success is not always defined in dollars, but for me it is defined by having the same customer for 15 years.
Success is not defining my womanhood by societies standards. It is having the confidence to be the woman I feel I am.
Success is not the ability to buy my kids everything they want. It is the creations of memories that will endure longer than any material thing.
I have a long way to go in many areas of my life, including areas I have mentioned. BUT, I am working on it.
I would love to hear how you define success in your life. Who knows, your success may be the inspiration for others.
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