I guess for each of us success would mean something different depending on our upbringing and ambitions in life. I know that my idea of success was neither healthy or helpful.
I would say that I used to define success as the accomplishment of creating a certain lifestyle for myself, whilst at the same time being recognized for my skills and contributions to my clients. To cut through the bullshit and candy coating I defined success as making money. It was easy for me to fall into this trap. If I made money I would be able to do all the things I really wanted to do. So, it was perfectly logical to work hard and make money, and then spend the money and enjoy the spoils of it.
Well, that did not work out the way I had planned. Six months ago, I ended up having a nervous breakdown; major depressive order; burnout or any one of the many names that people have analyzed it as. The reality is I was spent, I could not get out of bed, I could not drive or do the most basic of tasks. Even thinking made me feel exhausted. Just like that everything I had known about work and my career ground to a halt.
So here I am six months later, contemplating success. What on earth is this elusive success that we all chasing? How will I define success now that I am starting from scratch again? What would it look like if I was successful? One thing that I have come to realize is that I thought of myself as a successful person before the breakdown. I had a wonderful family, I was engaged to my Soul Mate, I had my dream house and an excellent career that was entering a wonderful stage ripe for expansion and I could capitalize on my years of experience gained in the industry. But I broke down, that was not successful. The funny thing is that I thought I was successful, but I never seemed to have time.
“Success” and the money that came along with it took away my time and my life. I was always busy, on the phone, checking mail, off to a meeting, reading industry news, watching the news and staying up to date with current affairs.
Wow, that is a powerful conclusion. Money took away my time and my life and I honestly thought that more money would buy me more of each. Money for holidays, money to retire, money to live comfortably. At what cost?
In the past three months, I have really focussed on healing myself and working to get mentally fit again. What I have found though is that I have so much time on my hands to do the things that I am immensely passionate about. In fact, there is so much that I want to do the days are just flying by. It is as if I am trying to cram in all the time I lost in my years at work.
So, my question to myself is: “How do I define success?”
Right now, my life is far more balanced than I ever remember. I am eating healthy meals, I practice yoga and meditation daily. I have been writing again and recently started drawing as well. I have on occasion picked up my drum and played again. I have even started “working” again. So, I guess I could say that leading a balanced life could be how I would define my life at the moment but is that success?
I find it hard to define success for myself when I take away the ego. Much of my success definitions are all rooted in some egotistical manifestation. I would love to say this was not so, but presently that is my reality, and as such, I do not yet have a definition of success for myself yet.
What would you advise? What does success look like for you?