I’ve had a couple of rather surprising heated discussions with people in my life I really and truly care about over the last week about the definition of success. Without a doubt, everyone’s interpretation is unique based upon their own personal history. As a small business owner and a single mother of two boys, I’ve been forced to redefine my success right now. And, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
One thing is for certain. My success currently is not about the labels on the clothes I wear or the square footage of my house. Rather, my claim to fame is that I am self-sufficient, set my own schedule, and have the ability to walk my kids to school.
A few thoughts on how others interpret success. Having your own business definitely puts you in a different category from most – particularly when you’re a woman. From my experience, you’re not on the same level as the gal who has made it big climbing up the ranks of the Fortune 500 company. Heck, you’re not even on the playing field with the stay at home mom who has a successful husband. You’re kind of in a no man’s land with some finding what you do fascinating and others feeling downright pity for you.
How I define success. It’s a question with an evolving answer. I’m pretty much past the judgment of others. However, the bar of success for me keeps getting raised higher. I want to be able to take care of my children, my retirement, and possibly help others earn an income, too. I want to motivate aspiring entrepreneurs to start businesses, volunteer in the boys’ school, and still steal a free hour to hop on my bike for a 20 mile ride. I want to finish that screenplay I’m working on. Yes, I realize I’m competing with young guys holding screenwriting degrees from UCLA who have nothing else to do but write screenplays while sipping lattes in Starbucks all day. It’s all a bit like trying to win an Olympic gold medal in the 100 yard dash while wearing high heels and running backwards a la Ginger Rodgers.
I’m slowly learning that it doesn’t really matter how others define my success. The important thing is whether I think I’m successful and continuing to head down the right track. The less time I spend focused on what others think of me or trying to compete, the more energy I can focus on what I need to do.
Entrepreneurship in a way trains your brain to stay focused on your own success and most of the time helps you tune out how others define it. Sometimes, all of this collides, and you do have those not so pleasant conversations with those who are important in your life. Hopefully, they get it enough to cheer you on from the sidelines so that you can keep on your path.
Song of the Day: On the Road Again, Canned Heat
Song of the Day: