Initially, I thought success came with an extremely high paying job and an impressive title. Something that would allow me to purchase luxury items, a house on the beach (a second in the mountains), and allow for some awesome vacations. I wanted a stable job with great benefits, and an amazing family.
While none of these are bad things to strive for, I was missing key elements. I was missing the concept of time and putting too much of an emphasis on a job title. I truly believe in the idea of achieving anything you want to through hard work, and so these goals are in no sense unachievable, however, big sacrifices in my other top priorities would have to be made. High paying careers with impressive titles usually come with 80 hour work weeks and not the most desirable work.
In my search for the “perfect job,” I realized I was chasing someone else’s idea of success and forgoing my own because it didn't fit into a traditional role. After working in an office with amazing benefits and plenty of time off that paid for my graduate school education that plenty of people would kill for… I realized this wasn't MY success either. It was success, but it was someone else's version of it. I didn’t quite yet understand that my success can look different than most people’s, and it doesn’t need to be approved by society to be right for me.
So I reevaluated. My idea of success involves working from anywhere I feel inspired that day, whether it be from home or a local coffee shop. It is to be able to spend time with my family and allocate time to staying healthy and happy by doing all the activities I love. Of course i still want to make a certain amount of income and have nice things, but I can always make more money. I can never get my time back.
It comes down to feeling inspired to take on the work I choose, and spending the majority of my days where I feel most productive and happy rather than in a commute to a place that will merely pay the bills.
I made a choice that a flexible and happy lifestyle is more important to me than climbing a corporate ladder to a fancy title with a large paycheck. While I still strive to be financially successful, it is no longer my only goal. I am not willing to trade my time and happiness solely for financial gains. I am striving for the whole well-rounded concept of my success.
It is so difficult to not look around at what everyone else is doing and compare yourself to others, but it is SO important to find what makes YOU happy, even if it is unconventional. I cannot tell you how many times I made decisions that go against the grain of society. While I am a very confident and independent person, I find going against the norm to be difficult, uncomfortable, and makes me very susceptible to judgement. However, it is also liberating, unique, and sometimes even groundbreaking. I am a free spirit, and being contained to societal norms is unnatural to me. That being said, if you agree with a lot of societal norms, there’s nothing wrong with making decisions that reflect them. However, it is important to remember that making decisions on your own terms is what defines you. It’s how you grow and how you learn as an individual. If you stick to making only society-approved decisions, I’m not sure you’ll ever discover who you really are and where you are designed to thrive.
So I encourage you all to take a step back and REALLY assess what makes you truly happy. Are you merely trying to impress others, or have you honestly obtained (or are working towards) YOUR unique vision of success? Are you spending most of your time on your top priorities or do you need a shift?
You have to take chances for the things that you care about. Stay true to yourself, stay positive, and don’t be afraid of failure... be afraid of accepting failure.