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The Meaning of Success

I clearly remember my surprise when a coworker asked if I considered myself successful. I stopped what I was doing and turned around, realizing that more than really wanting to know if I was successful, she was trying to find a definition of success she could fit herself into. I will share with you my thoughts and feelings about success as I did with her that morning.

Success is usually defined by how others see us and think about us. Most of the time success is based on how much money we have (and show it off), what label of clothes we wear, where we live, who we hang out with, what we look like, the car we drive, and the list goes on and on.

Also, success is defined by a means to an end. For instance, to a mother who is trying to stop her kids from hanging out with the wrong crowd, she will point at “certain buddies” as successful friends to hang with, in order to illustrate how “that other group of kids” are not, so therefore, “hanging out with such, it will stop you from succeeding”.

To a woman who is trying desperately to fit in a social group of women who probably are wealthier than her, success will be marrying a guy who makes a lot of money, so therefore, she is successful.

To a young man who is entering college and comes from a family with strict parents who place importance on academic performance, success will imply getting all straight A’s.

As I tried to shared my definition of success with my friend, I made a quick trip to my past, realizing that my life was probably far from successful for many people. From fashion designer to music teacher to counselor. From musician to writer. From married to divorced and later remarried. Mother of two, always struggling financially and working real hard. So much accomplished but yet so many changes.

Somehow life has put me in situations I have had to move and follow each cycle as it comes. I have had to change jobs, apartments and in some cases even friends. I have had to change life styles and living structures.

However, I joyfully realized every single thing I’ve done, I’ve done with my heart. In every professional area I’ve moved, I’ve done my best and have been recognized by employers and coworkers. When it has been time to accept what I was doing was no longer what I should had been doing, I’ve had the courage to move and do what needs to be done. I’ve given the best I could possibly give to my kids, have accepted my flaws and mistakes and continued working with myself to be a better person.

Yes, I consider myself successful, because to me success is not how others see me. Success is loving and accepting yourself for who you are, but always giving yourself completely in every task so you can feel the gratification of knowing you did nothing but the best. Success is knowing you can die tomorrow and realize that after all, your husband, kids, family and friends will feel nothing but pride in who you were and how you treated them. And most important, knowing that God is looking at you with a smile on His face because you’ve simply done your very best!

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