Image by Dawna at Seraph’s Quill

Like most people, my definition of success was formed at any early age. I watched my parents as they worked long hours at jobs they really didn’t like, so they could make money to provide for our family’s necessities and some comforts. That was what I came to believe life was.

Fast forward many years, and the belief I held was that in order to be successful, one needed to work hard and make lots of money. That way, we could buy stuff that we either didn’t really need or that would make life so simple that we hardly had to lift a finger to get things done.

Success in Employment

Over the years, I’ve had some good jobs and some not so good ones.

When I was still pretty young, I gave up the “good” ones to become a full-time mom and military spouse. I desired the flexibility that “position” gave me to be home and support my family as – together – we faced the challenges associated with long separations. As much as I enjoyed those years… Well, as much as they could be enjoyed… They came back to bite me in the butt when it was time for me to re-enter the workforce.

See, employers really don’t like to hire a 40-something woman, who last had real-world job experience back in her 20’s. That was where the “not so good” job came into play.

So, here I am, closer to being a 50-something woman than 40-something, further away from my vision of “success” than I’ve ever been.

Is that to say that my family isn’t financially prosperous? Not in the least. We’re quite comfortable… because of my husband. For a woman, who has always had a strong streak of independence, that’s a bit challenging to my ideal of “success”. It was different when I was “holding down the fort” in the past. I was doing my part.

Success in Purpose

Oxford defines success as:

suc·cess /səkˈses/ noun

  • 1.the accomplishment of an aim or purpose:

So, given that I was fulfilling my family role, my purpose at that time, I was successful.

Now, though… With our “nest” 2/3 of the way empty and our youngest now a teen, my “purpose” is less defined, which sends me back to my old definition of “success”.

Pursuing Success, Again

Last week, I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine. We discussed how one of my family members has had the job of her dreams fall right into her lap, and we celebrated her awesome creation skills. Then, I found myself saying, “now, if I could only make it work for me.”

My friend reminded me that our perceptions of “success” are rather outdated and are ones that we’ve adopted from society. I understood that and agreed. The challenge I find I’m faced with is… If those ideals no longer constitute success for me, what does?

Like many, I grew up equating money and power with success, and for a time, that framed my definition. But as I’ve matured, that has changed. You see, success is a very personal thing.  ~Laura Garnett,

It is a personal thing, but one that I had not defined for myself. Well, until this morning. But, you know what? It may change and evolve with time. I’m coming to believe that our beliefs and ideals are not static, and if they are… They become stagnant, and, then, we no longer grow and evolve as an individual.

So, my new ideal for success? To “live a happy life”, but what does that mean? Well, to me, it means experiencing the following:

  • Love – Of family and friends
  • Peace – Of mind and heart
  • Joy & Comfort
  • Prosperity & Abundance (in whatever form and from whatever source it comes)
  • Many moments of experiencing beauty
  • Many opportunities to express creativity
  • Connection – With others on a mundane as well as spiritual level. This world and the one beyond.

Really, that’s what it all boils down to for me.

The one thing that I realize I need to keep firmly in my mind is… It is not really my “job” to decide what any of those things looks like in manifested form.

For instance, I experience prosperity, abundance, and comfort, even though it is not as a direct result of my pursuits and endeavors. And that’s okay. Again, it’s not my job to decide how the things I desire come into my life. It’s only my job to experience and feel gratitude for them. The rest is up to Spirit/God/the Universe, whichever name one chooses to address the Source of ALL. Otherwise, I’m just getting in the way.

What is your definition of “success”? How has it evolved over time? I would love to have you share your views in the comments below.

Until next time, dear friend, may you be successful in all your endeavors and in whatever that looks like to you.

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