As a child, I was instilled with the recipe for success – a dash of education and a pinch of determination mixed with hard work and a good plan.
Implementing this recipe was the only way I was going to get the hell out of dodge after high school. It was going to maneuver me into a stellar university that would set me up for an accomplished life complete with the ideal career and picture perfect family. I was going to be a successful person. After all, I had the recipe. I had a plan.
Then entered life. I was knocked down, beat down and stripped of my self-esteem, confidence and perfectly planned life. I was pushed so far off the path to success that I assumed I would spend the rest of my life wandering around searching for a mere glimpse of this yellow-brick road. Where the hell was the Wizard when I needed him?
I became so engulfed in my loserdom that I began to believe I actually had the word ‘LOSER’ inscribed across my forehead allowing everyone to share in the knowledge that I, the girl who was once voted ‘Most Likely to Succeed’, was a failure and a fraud. I wasn’t thriving or succeeding. In fact, I was failing at life over and over again. Where was the recipe for preventing that?
Eventually, in a last ditch effort to pull myself out of the wreckage that was my life, I opted to study abroad in London for a semester. If I couldn’t succeed, at least I could fail in a whole new environment.
What happened next was something I never expected. I blossomed. Joy returned to my smile. Purpose returned to my life. And I received a whole new education on the meaning of success.
I was always taught that success was measured in careers, money, education and things, but I realized there are many definitions of success. And that one isn’t mine.
To me, success is measured in moments and experiences.
The laughter shared between friends, the awe of experiencing a new culture, the feeling of being loved and loving, learning to love and accept yourself – those are all moments of success in my book.
I began to realize that the successful life that I desire does not include spending most of my time trying to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, it includes travel, friendship, love, venturing outside of my comfort zone and living life to the fullest.
At the end of my life, I’m not going to look back and think of all the money I made or things I bought, but I will remember all the places I saw, people I loved and experiences that touched me.
If I can look back on my life and smile at the memory of all those experiences, then I will have lived a successful life.
Have you ever felt like you were failing at life? What is your definition of success?