Success. What does it look like? To some it is finally buying a dream car; to others it is landing the perfect job. For every person in the world, reaching success looks differently. Our beliefs on what success could—or should—be stem from a few different sources.
1. Your upbringing. How your parent’s succeeded, or failed to succeed. How they spoke about others who were “successful” in their eyes. How they received you when you did something well, how love was given or with held when you failed. All of these factors play a role in what you view success to be, and what you strive for.
2. Your self-image. The view you have of yourself can play into when and how you will view yourself as successful. Those who have confidence and find worth at a low paying, hard to do job, will most likely still see themselves as valuable at a higher end job. Those who don’t see themselves as successful at the things they are doing, and are always striving to find success at a later date, will most likely never feel successful even when they have reached their goals. Cars, houses, jobs, relationships will never feel satisfying and the next best thing will evenaully come around to replace what originally was viewed as success. It is all about perception. That’s not to say we can’t have goals and ambitions, but if we can’t find joy in life now . . . it will be harder to find then.
3. Your relationships. What energy do you put into relationships with those around you? What importance do you put on their well-being? How selfish are you? Do you love to get love back, or do you love to see another being be loved? The view you have on relationships and their importance in your life, can play a role on your view of what success should or could be.
4. Your personality. For a more laid back personality, success could be viewed differently than a person who is a little more tightly wound. A perfectionist verses a person less concerned with details. All of these biologically engrained and learned personality traits can play in to the way we ideal what success should be.
5. Your environment. Who do you surround yourself with? What do your friends view success to be? What environments do you feel comfortable in? How do you feel around people you view as “successful”? Do you feel more successful when around someone you feel better than in some way? Do you have encouragement from your surroundings, or do they bring you down? How do you perceive others view of you? Do you compliment others who have found success? Do you struggle with jealousy or hatred? Do you hold on to the past or fear the future? Do you live within your means? Do you hold onto “stuff” or do you keep your space clean and fresh? All of these can play a role in the energy that is around you while setting goals and viewing future success.
6. Your thoughts. Do you think negatively about yourself and others? Do you let your thoughts spiral out of your control when fear kicks in? Can you determine a truth from a lie in your own mind? Do you ask others for approval, or do you have confidence in decisions? Do you like yourself? Do you believe in yourself? Do you trust others? Do you trust yourself? Do you trust God? Your thoughts and beliefs can help to shape, or misshape your view of success.
So what is success? If it isn’t a destination that can be defined by anyone—for everyone—why do we keep spending our years feeling like we have failed at getting there?
Why do so many people keep wishing for the next big thing to bring them happiness and validate a fear or belief that they are not successful without it?—because it is a lie. “Success” is the fish you will never catch. Its goal is to keep you so busy striving for it, that you miss the things that make you successful right now.
We all succeed in our own way. While one woman is out conquering the world in her career, another is a mother changing diapers at home. While one man is making millions in a high-rise penthouse, another is pinching pennies to feed his children in a trailer. Both have found success—just in a different way. But to say one is more successful for all the numbers they have gained, is forgetting that those numbers cannot last forever.
I know a few people who I would say are my hero’s of success—and there is no dollar amount to why. My grandma would feed—what felt like a hundred of—us every holiday, never complaining about the cost or the time—but always giving unconditional love. My mom had five kids of her own and took on seven more with a second marriage. Through all of her ups and downs in life, I never once heard her complain or lose faith in God. To me, they have made it . . . to “success”. They have learned how to love.
And we all have an example who showed what true success looks like. He came to earth—as we all did—with a very unique mission and purpose. His story is one of a poor man who spent his days serving others. He served because He loved. He died, because He cared. He could see what we can’t—but lived as we can.
So success. What is it? It would seem—as we all get cloudy on our definition of when one will reach the success they have worked their life for—we might have all had it all wrong. Success is finding your connection to God, and the reason He sent you here to earth. Success is leaving a great legacy for your family, by the way you show them how to love. Success is being you and finding joy along the way.
If I have said it once, I will say it again a thousand times. We have to put our family first. The dark clouds are just going to keep getting darker. Keep fighting. The light is going to get dim—at times—don’t let it burn out.
Success—true success—at the end of this thing we call life will not be measured in numbers and dollar signs, it will not be obtained by a dream house or a dream car. It will be achieved by living a dream life. Make memories. Laugh. Find joy—in the stuff that is real . . . the relationships you will take with you.