When I first entered college, I thought I’d walk away being “successful.” I’d have a few job offers, a resume revealing a large amount of experience, and have a career to jump into. Looking back, I wasn’t naive thinking these thoughts, but I was misleading myself. As I’m currently present in the time that I looked forward to for the past four years, I’ve found that I completely defined success wrong. I’ve mislead myself in thinking that being successful meant that I had to have a 9-5 job, a consistent paycheck coming in, “security,” work friends to go out after work with, deadlines to meet, and being promoted.
Sure, I’ve accomplished some of these things in previous employment opportunities, but I’ve never felt that I truly made a difference except on my last day of work in Birmingham a few weeks ago. I said goodbye to one co-worker in particular and she was almost in tears when she thanked me for helping her. She explained that I had been reliable, trustworthy, helpful, and that I truly made a difference in helping relieve her workload. It was that day that it dawned on me that it’s not tangible items that make me successful. Success isn’t about how much money I make. Success isn’t the title that I have. Success isn’t the number of deadlines I have to meet.
My definition of success has been completely redefined. For me, success is helping others. Success is starting with nothing and arriving at something. Success is completing those small tasks everyday that will allow me to reach my goals. Success is saving up to travel and adventure. Success is working hard every day. Success is promoting other people. Success is saying “yes” more. Success is not worrying about tomorrow. Success is waking up and looking forward to the day ahead. Success is facing my fears. Success is not allowing others to define my definition of success. Success is succeeding although facing challenges. Success is loving what I do every day.
Today, I look back on my four years of college and am so proud of myself. I am truly successful because I started out having no idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but now I do. I worked hard every day to achieve my goal of earning my degree. I faced my fear of public speaking. I earned my degree although none of my family members have.
Although I may not be successful by the world’s terms, I know that every morning when I wake up, I can look forward to the day ahead and love what I do every day because I know what success means to me.
“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between he does what he wants to do.”
Let’s start the discussion! How do you define success?