Your Success is the Goal
What does being a success mean to you? Have you thought about it? I mean really considered what success means to you? For many years I just went along with the idea of success other people imposed on me.
I went to junior college and got an associates degree. Then on to a university for my bachelor’s degree. Then I continued my education and got a master’s degree. Today I can honestly say I am grateful for my formal education. On this side I know how pursuing a formal education fueled my desire to stay a well-informed person. But a formal education alone did not ever make me feel like a success.
I had great jobs and with some of the jobs came a big corner office. But my life was so busy with work that my relationships suffered. I was too busy with work with no time to play or spend quality time with my partner, friends and pets.
I got the big house, fancy car and stylish wardrobe. Even though I had a good job that paid well I spent well beyond my means. What I wore, what I drove, where I lived became more important than being financially responsible. I was trying to paint a picture of what I thought, what I’d been told success is.
I grew up with family, the television, advertisers telling me what it meant to be successful. So I blindly followed the crowd. I attempted to keep up with an unrealistic standard of what it means to be successful as defined by other people.
Honestly, would you consider someone a success who is $35,000 in credit card debt? Someone who could not afford regular health check-up, dentist examinations, or visits to the veterinary for her pets. Would you think I was successful when I could not afford to take a vacation? Someone who lay awake at night in a panic from fear of how I was going to pay off all the debt?
Today I realize I was not a success. For many years I had been disillusioned to believe success was surrounding myself with things. So I spent irresponsibly. I did not stop to consider if things really brought me happiness. I can tell you I was extremely unhappy being so much in debt to the point I lived in fear and constant stress.
Today I am debt free. I paid all of the $35,000 back. It was important for me to do so because the act of assuming responsibility taught me what it really means to be successful.
We live in a consumerist world that deems us successful when we attain wealth, honors, notoriety, a big house, big car, excellent education and other things that are supposed to define us. If we wear a certain size, drive a certain car, live in a certain neighborhood, etc. But things are not who we really are.
Things do not feel. Things do not provide genuine validation of who we are. Things do not establish us as people who are truly admired. Things are sold to us by people who are in the business of selling things. Advertisers will deem what is successful based on the items they sell.
The same is true of fashion and what size we are to be. Again those who are making and selling a product or look deem what it means to be successful according to their standards. But what if we do not fit the mold or model of their standard? Does that mean we are a failure?
Success is a term that really has no meaning until we take the time to determine what it means to us. Regardless what anyone else thinks of success, take time to define success for yourself. Don’t depend on advertisers, family, friends, co-workers, etc. to tall you what it means for you to be a success. Define it for yourself.
Sit down and make a list of each area in your life in which you want to feel successful. What are your financial goals? What amount of retirement/savings do you want to achieve over your lifetime? How much will you need in order to have the quality of life you desire? How much will you need to donate to the causes you support? What about term life insurance to ensure your families financial stability should something happen to you unexpectedly? What about long-term care should you become disabled or suffer an extended illness? Do you have a medical directive and have you assigned power of attorney to someone you trust to handle your affairs? Do you have a will?
What are your relationship goals? Do you desire a partner to grow with spiritually? Do you want someone who enjoys the same activities you do? Do you want a partner to complement you, to support you, to respect you? What are the values – kindness, responsibility, loyalty, open and honest communication, etc. that you want in someone? Are these already a part of who you are today? Do you need to work on your issues so you do not bring them into a relationship?
What are your educational/career goals? Where would you like to be in a year, 5 years, and 10 years?
What are your health/physical goals? Are you overweight? Do you smoke? What changes do you know you need to make to ensure you have a healthy body and good quality of life?
What are your parenting goals? Or have you decided to not become a parent? Would you prefer to adopt a child?
Creating a successful life gets easier when you take time to determine what success means to you. Refuse to let anyone tell you that you are only a success when you have achieved their idea of success? You will not be fulfilled working for the goals of someone else. You will find fulfillment and self-respect when you set your own standard of success and you work to achieve the goals for yourself.