The idea of success has been a confusing one for me for a number of years. It’s always seemed to be elusive, out of reach and a sweet treat reserved for a select few. I’ve searched out and observed a number of ‘successful’ people in various fields, whether in person or online and tried to recognise in them, any familiar traits that we might have in common which might mean that, ‘yes, their success is a possibility for me too!’
So what is success? What does it look like? What characteristics are needed to enjoy it?
The problem I’ve come to realise, is that there isn’t a cookie-cutter definition of success. What one persons deems the epitome of success, may be completely different to someone else’s definition. It might mean a bucket load of money to one person, while it might mean changing out of their pajamas before lunchtime to another.
I was reminded of this yesterday when I was asked by the Fine Women Business Network as one of 4 women to stand up and talk about my journey as a self-employed person to a roomful of other solopreneurs and business owners. When I was thinking about what to speak about, I realised that I didn’t need to memorize anything because, ultimately, I already knew the lines. I’ve lived them. I relive them. All the time. ‘What should I have done differently?’ ‘How could I have changed that outcome?’ ‘Where would I be now if….’ I know all the stories.
While I reflected on my journey to date though, I realised that, although I may not yet be where I envision, I’ve come a long way, albeit an up and down journey. And while I can also reflect and wonder why it’s taken me so long to get where I am now, while others have done it so much more efficiently and strategically, I realised that I’ve followed my heart and my gut every step of the way. I’ve done what I wanted to do, because I wanted to do them.
I also had a realisation after yesterday’s talk that, again, although I may not yet be where I envision, that if I were to only compare myself to the Abigail that started this journey a number of years ago, and not to other ‘successful’ people, then perhaps I’d acknowledge and celebrate that I’m already successful. It’s just my definition of success. Not anyone else’s. And that’s ok.
In this online age, when it’s so easy create a facade of glam and gorgeousness, it can be hard to do the antithesis of ‘Keeping Up with The Joneses’. As a creative and a photographer, it’s even more difficult not have the green-eyed monster of envy jump out, bite you in the ass and ask you why you hadn’t thought of that, dumbass!
So I get it. I get why I do it. Why we all do it.
But what I promise the Abigail of today is to be reminded of my journey, look at the lessons I’ve learned along the way, and make the Abigail of tomorrow proud of the decisions she made way back today. I hope you can do the same. We each have our own ongoing success stories and they deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated.