Career Development, Personal Development

Everyone Is Working For This Goal

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

M C Escher Illusionist Art (flickr)

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.

16 thoughts on “Everyone Is Working For This Goal”

  1. Giving yourself approval and recognition for your personal accomplishments is extremely important to your sense of self-worth. Part of successful goal setting is to acknowledge your progress and allow yourself to experience self-approval. If we don’t do this, we are connecting approval to some future event rather than using it to empower us along the way.

  2. Success is a constantly moving target. Very few people are content with the success they do have, which leads to them trying for greater success.

    But there does come a point when you have to evaluate whether you’re striving for something to feel true success or just to say you were successful. They’re two separate things.

    Great post.

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  6. 1.) I’m flattered I inspired such a tremendous post.
    2.) I think you’re spot on with the points that I was trying to convey. I was also trying to get across that we’re all entirely too quick to judge and put each other in a box. In reality, there are typically reasons why we are the way we are, and is always in a perpetual state of motion.
    3.) As a former collegiate athlete, I’ve always been guilty of being uber competitive. It wasn’t until graduate school until I was capable of making a “B” b/c before I’d rather kill myself so long as I had the highest grades. Lame, I know. That’s why I love this from your post, “It means that you’re changing, re-evaluating your life and what is important to you, basing your version of success on those values.”

    That’s the key take away for me, and a damn good one. Thanks for sharing Susan!


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  8. Kevin and Liz: Thanks for your comments!

    Jonathan: This is something I’ve been learning, as not acknowledging these small successes can lead to frustration that you’re not achieving more and a lack of self-confidence, losing belief. It’s hard to combat those feelings sometimes, and I need to remind myself of everything I’ve done so far, that it’s those small steps that matter. Thanks so much for your words and encouragement.

    Kim: I love how you say that “success is a constantly moving target,” it couldn’t have been better said. And it’s so very true that there is a difference between reaching for a dream or a goal and striving for success just because. It seems like that’s another issue to be considered. Very well said, thanks for your thoughts!

    Benjamin: That’s precisely the reason I have a blog — to talk through and figure out problems, assess situations, and find out what is important to me while gaining new insights and perspectives. That’s what I love about this community — everyone offers their own experiences in conversation that allows opinions to be challenged, to either change or cement what it means to them.

    Ryan: Thanks for providing the subject matter for this post! I’m always so pleasantly surprised when blogs challenge you, make you think deeply on the topic. I think competition is healthy in that it keeps you working towards something, but maybe it’s also important to question why we can be so competitive — is it to reach our personal best or is it as a means to play catch up with what everyone else is doing, measuring ourselves against that. Brings up some interesting questions…Thanks so much for starting the conversation!

  9. You took a post that inspired you a wrote an inspiring post yourself. I really enjoyed reading this, and I think your outlook is a fantastic one. Success is definitely relative, and it’s dynamic too. At different stages in our lives success will mean different things, and that’s okay. Thanks for your insight! In my opinion, this post was a success.

  10. Sam: Thanks for the comment! As evidenced by the most recent post, there are times when you doubt yourself and your own path, but maybe that’s another idea: your go through different stages of life, as you so articulately say, and thus success means different things. Maybe because it’s such a journey and so personal, it makes achieving it so much sweeter in the end.

    Thanks again for your thoughts, Sam!

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