11 Nov What is Success

Most of my time is spent pursuing success. Recent interactions and ‘writings on the wall’ (literally) have left me reflecting on how it is exactly that I define success. Most of us spend countless hours chasing career dreams bent over desks, in meetings, reading relevant articles and books. The world is in perpetual motion with many of us clawing at the next thing to try and get ahead. All to attain success, right? I’ll admit for several years my own metrics for success were money, a new job or accolades from those I considered superior. I felt accomplished when I had these things, which made me happy. I was happy, I suppose, but not quite fulfilled and chasing after success as I had defined it sure was exhausting.

There were a few different experiences that made me start to evaluate and redefine success. I started teaching group exercise and anyone who does that knows it’s definitely not for the money (just ask the closest gym what their going rate is for instructors). So success came to me in the form of feedback from the women I taught. A woman who pushed herself to get off her knees to do a push-up, a woman who texted me with the message below, a woman who grew stronger physically and emotionally which enabled her to manage the stresses in her life.


I also endured several hard years personally, put several bad habits and a toxic lifestyle behind me. This was also success. I am fortunate to have two beautiful children in my life as well and the day I taught this little 8-year old girl how to do a cartwheel – was also success.

Success became less and less defined in the form of accomplishments and rewards and has taken the form of smiles from others and knowing I have made a difference. While waiting to see my doctor one day, a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson stared back at me, a writing on the wall if you will, that said it best:

“To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden path…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”

While on your path to find happiness and success, perhaps you might also take some time to look at what exactly defines those things for you.