Even if your hope has burned with time
Anything that is dead shall be re-grown…
I felt this thing I can’t replace
When everyone was working for this goal…
You will be fine.
Angels and Airwaves, The Adventure
I’m not quite sure what it is about recent posts by other bloggers that inspire me to question what these topics and thoughts mean in relation to my own life; however, I do know that this is what blogging is all about — community, conversation, cementing opinions and gaining new insight. I want to thank these bloggers for sharing their thoughts, sparking this conversation, and allowing me to go off on tangents. Blame them. 😉
Ryan Stephens of Ryan Stephens Marketing recently wrote an insightful blog post where he discussed the idea that people from all walks add value to your own life, shaping it in ways that sometimes can’t be foreseen because you’re constantly growing, changing, and re-evaluating goals and dreams and your own version of success. Priorities change and values are reshaped, and what you once felt was so important may begin to shift as others take its place.
“Some days I want to be a millionaire by the time I’m 35. Sometimes I want to do enough to support a family, and spend as much time as I can with my family and friends. Occasionally I want to find a small liberal arts school and teach online marketing, personal branding, etc. and coach their baseball team to 5 national titles.”
I’ve been grappling with the issue of what the definition of success is for awhile. It seems people are constantly talking about the importance of being successful, and envy tends to rear its head when you see someone accomplishing what you can only dream.
Only, is it really your dream?
I’ve come to a conclusion that success is relative; it means something different for each individual. And just because someone else is achieving success, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t, that you haven’t already.
I think that we tend to get so caught up in competition with each other — wanting to be the best employee, parent, blogger, writer — that we fool ourselves into thinking that this is what’s important, losing sight of what we really want in order to “be the best,” in order to be what we perceive is successful.
This competition is great in that it motivates us, makes us work harder, helps us strive to do more and be our best, but sometimes the landscape of our passions change, and so do our priorities. Sometimes, that dream of being a millionaire at 35 doesn’t seem so important when you find out what it means to have a family. Sometimes, you unexpectedly realize that coaching a little league team is just as fulfilling as playing in the major leagues.
Does that mean that you’re settling? Giving up on a dream?
It means that you’re changing, re-evaluating your life and what is important to you, basing your version of success on those values.
Personally, I always equaled being a successful writer with being published, and being an author is a dream that I’m never willing to give up on. However, as I follow through on other passions, I’m beginning to find the value in what I’m doing, able to appreciate how far I’ve come, and able to see that, in my own life, where happiness and family and love is so important to me, I’ve achieved that measure of success.
And I know that I’ll continue to do so as I continue to grow.
It’s important to honor each success as they come, no matter how small they might be. We shouldn’t compare ourselves with others; what’s important is how we acknowledge what it means to us as individuals.
Don’t negate how far you’ve come just because you haven’t yet reached that top tier. What you may find is that it shifts as you change, as you grow, as you re-evaluate your life and discover and rediscover what matters most.