“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” –Albert Einstein.
A lot of us set out on our career paths with a pretty strong idea of what it would mean to be successful. Maybe you’d make a lot of money, own your own company, change policy, provide for your family, fight injustice, feel fulfilled, write a book, be on tv, have the interesting stories. Whatever you thought success was going to look like, great. I had all sorts of ideas of what I thought success was. Some I have been lucky enough to be achieve (and recognize when I did.) Some turned out not to have mattered at all. But most often success turned out to be more intangible than I thought when I was starting out. Success has turned out not to be a destination, but a continuous journey. And not one that I often enough stop to take some time to think about.
Our ideas of success are often situational, so once we’ve reached them we often don’t think of them as success anymore. And in the hectic days and weeks and months of life, what success means is often gets focused down to a pinpoint of light. Did I get X thing done? Yes? Great. Next.
Why am I doing it, did I enjoy getting it done, is it something I needed to get done or wanted to get done? It’s easy to lose track of those questions. When was the last time you thought about what you wanted to achieve and about what you valued and compared the two?
When was the last time you thought about who you wanted to be instead of what you wanted to be? For some of us it’s been a long time and it’s easy to get stuck in outdated ideas we had when we were young, or ideas that have been foisted on us.
This week, take a moment to think about what success is to you now. If you could measure success however you wanted, how would you do it? Only you can define what your success looks like – you can’t be wrong and not all of your ideas will be directly in line with each other; sometimes they may even contradict each other. (Money can be one way to measure success. So can being directly impactful in a community even though it means making less money.) Maybe you’re already on the right path and forgot to look up or maybe you need to make some changes to how you’re going about your days. Whatever your answer, take it to work, take it home, and take it out in the world.