All too often we equate success with money. Or maybe it’s climbing the corporate ladder and attaining that prestigious title. Or maybe it’s booking a certain number of clients per year. And for some people, maybe these things do equal success. But I think we need to stop defaulting to that definition. Success can look different to to each individual, and we need to understand what it means for each of us.
There are plenty of wealthy people in this world, and on the outside they usually look like they have it all together. They live in beautiful homes, drive the nicest cars, wear the most put together outfits, vacation in the most lavish of ways and shell out all of the dollars to dine at the best restaurants. And perhaps these things aren’t a facade. Maybe they really do have it all together. Maybe they’re truly happy. But maybe they’re not. We often forget to stop and think about the sacrifices people make to get where they are. Perhaps they sacrificed being able to watch their children grow up. Perhaps it was giving up the time that they should have been investing in their marriage. Perhaps they sacrificed the simplest of pleasures that make life so enjoyable like reading a book or enjoying a cup of coffee. Perhaps they gave up their privacy to always be in the spotlight (Kardashians anyone?). And perhaps that is their definition of success, but I don’t think it has to be everyone’s.
To truly understand what success looks like in our own lives, we need to look at the big picture. I mean the really big picture. When you look back on your life when you’re 80 or 90 years old, what do you want to see? Do you want to see thousands of hours poured into a lucrative job that you weren’t truly happy in? Do you want to see all of the material things that you were able to acquire because of your financial status? Do you want to regret pouring too much of yourself into your job and not enough into your family and friends? OR do you want to look back at a life full of the things that really matter?
Personally, I’d prefer the latter. When I’m 80, I want to look back and know that I nurtured the relationships in my life and poured into those to the best of my ability. I want to know that I loved and served others as well as I could. I want to look back on a life where I grew in my faith. I want to be surrounded by generations of a happy family that I helped in pouring the foundation for. I want to look back on times where I left my comfort zone and experienced new things that helped to shape and mold me into the person that I am. I want to know that in the time I did spend working, I positively impacted people’s lives and made a difference. I want to know that I worked because I loved it and I was fulfilling what I was called to do; not because of the almighty dollar. More than anything, I want to be happy, and I want those around me to be happy. This is my definition of success, and it has nothing to do with money. What’s yours?