Success, what does that really mean? Is it being rich and famous? Is it being considered the best in your field? Is it finding a job you love or is it finding the love of your life? In reality, there are many different definitions for success which depends a great deal on the individual defining it and where they currently are in their life.
When I was a teenager and trying to make important decisions about what I wanted to do with my life, my idea of success was simply graduating from high school and finding a full-time job. My hope was to work for a good company, make a good living and receive a full-pension in the end.
Well, I did graduate from high school but I never did find that one job that I would keep for the rest of my life. At least not in the way I imagined. Why not? Because life has a funny way of changing your plans.
I got married one year after high school to my high school sweetheart, Jim. The next day we packed up my things and headed off to Gagetown, New Brunswick where Jim was training as an armoured officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. From there, we moved around every two years. In five years, we started a family and I was fortunate to be a stay-at-home Mom. I enjoyed being a mother and taking care of my family. My view of success then was to make sure that my two daughters felt loved unconditionally and that I could help them grow up to be self-reliant, which they are.
When my girls were young, I had an opportunity to attend the Nova Scotia Community College in Shelburne, Nova Scotia where I could complete a one-year Secretarial program. I was anxious about going back to school; however, I felt it would be a good opportunity for me and I was determined to succeed.
I look back at this time with a great deal of pride. I did very well in school and when I graduated, I received the Queen Elizabeth II Medal for highest academic achievement, I was Valedictorian and I received the Donald A. Memorial Award which was handed out each year to the student who exhibited the highest degree of initiative, resourcefulness, workmanship and willingness to help others. It had been a good year for me and I had successfully reached my goals. I had a newfound confidence and the belief that I had it in me to succeed. This belief helped me later in life when I took on new challenges and set new goals.
My husband and I are now retired and I have taken up new challenges in the areas of painting, photography, writing, drawing and graphic design. Success for me now means developing my skills and working to create a large body of quality work. Learning and growing both personally and creatively is very important to me and they have always been an important part of my successes.
As you can see from my story, success can mean different things to different people.
In order to create success, you must first define it. Try to figure out what you want to achieve and be true to yourself. Don’t try to copy someone else’s dream. Make sure that you are doing something that you love and are passionate about. Your goals should be a source of power and motivate you to move forward toward your target.
Here are some questions to think about as you define what success means to you.
- If you knew for sure that you would be successful, what would you do?
- If money was not an issue, what would you do?
- What matters to you today and in the future?
When you have answered these questions, close your eyes and imagine yourself reaching your goals. What does it look like? How does it feel?
Finally, consider making a list of your past achievements and setting them aside for a rainy day. Should you come up against nay-sayers, road blocks or self-doubts along the way, you can look back on your list for a boost of confidence.
So, what does success mean to you?
“The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.” Henry Ford
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