This post is part of The Declaration of You! Blog Lovin’ tour, which I’m participating in along with over 100 other creative bloggers. During the next several weeks, I’ll be posting on various topics that addressed in The Declaration of You!, and I’m so very excited to be a part of this larger community. This week’s theme is “Self-Care”.
When I first agreed to write about success, I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought. Everyone knows what success is; writing about success should be a snap.
The problem is that it hasn’t been quite so easy to wrap my head around success and what it means for me. All I’ve really been able to think about is an equation where success equals money and power, and those aren’t really things that I aspire to have or have much of. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I enjoy money and power and the things that come with it…like living indoors and regular meals and that fancy camera that is now half mine and half Amazon’s rather than all Amazon’s. But I don’t need a whole lot of money to make me happy.
Perhaps that’s because of the place where I come from. Where I come from, success is making it out of high school without getting pregnant. When I tell students at orientation that my father’s house didn’t have indoor plumbing that’s true. I caught boards and slabs coming off a sawmill blade at 9. My mother was a cross-country truck-driver. When you don’t have much, it doesn’t take much.
So when I take money and power out of the success equation, what is left? Defining what is left has been the really difficult part for me.
I think that a colleague puts it best: each night I want to be able to go to bed and rest, knowing that I’ve done the right thing. I want the peace that comes from knowing that I’ve done the best I can and that my best is informed and defined by a sense of righteousness. If that happens, then I think it’s been a successful day. String enough successful days together and it’s a successful life.
There’s more to it than that, though. This life is a success when our needs are met, and as my in-laws recently said, we help others with our excess. As a teacher – and at my base, I am ever a teacher – my life is about helping others. Providing support where I see a need, asking where I might be able to help, directing my money to places where it is of the best use. When my life is put to service, I can call myself a success.
I think the other piece of success is following your passion, doing the things that bring you joy and happiness. I’m beginning to move towards that and to create a plan that allows me the ability to support myself and my family through my writing and perhaps my photography. Those are the things that feed my soul and when there’s time in my life for those things, when they have prominence and can sustain me, I can consider myself as having achieved a measure of success.
How do you define success? What does it look like in your world?
The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us! — by clicking here.