What does success mean to you?
If you’re anything like me, you probably grew up with a very cookie-cutter expectation.
Success probably meant having a stable, good-paying job and the perfect family, aka a spouse, 2 kids, and a dog.
Nowadays, the dream has changed to being an entrepreneur, or influencer, and being able to work remotely from the beach.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with either scenario.
Yet, it’s time to assign a new definition of success, particularly for women.
What’s Wrong With the Current Definition of Success
At the core of today’s definition of success is this – it’s based on someone else’s opinion.
We can agree that in the past, the norm was to settle down and have a family. Now today, the norm is to venture out on your own. But neither of these definitions allow room for choice. In fact, they result in shaming.
“Shame on you if you choose the family.”
“You won’t be successful if you choose the day job.”
“You’re entitled if you start a business.”
And then the layers of these norms become more complicated.
For example: If you have a family, you are held to subjective standards like having a certain amount of kids, adhering to trendy food choices for your bundle of joy, and the list goes on.
Then when you add the digital aspect, you can see that keeping up with the Joneses has extended beyond having the biggest house or most fashionable clothes. Now it’s this public competition on social media to have the coolest life even if it’s unrealistic, unhealthy and unsustainable.
We don’t want to be entrepreneurs because we want to actually help make a difference. We’re doing it because we just want everyone to admire how busy we are and how cool we are to not have a job.
We don’t even have traveling on our bucket list but hey, everyone’s doing it so now we need to do it too.
To be frank, this idea of “everyone’s doing it so you should too” is inauthentic AF (*read inauthentic as f)!
What Success Should Be
Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.
It should be based on what fulfills you, what nourishes your soul, what makes you happy.
And that’s it!
Success is reaching a destination in life that’s tailor-made for you, and loving the journey.
Check Out This Story
When my family and I visited Barbados earlier this year, we attended a party with my parents and, while we were there, my dad and I had a very interesting conversation.
The location where we attended the celebration was breathtaking!
Tall, majestic palm trees greeted the guests at the front of the house. Then upon entry through a strategically placed arch, you could see a beautifully designed two-tier pool that was adjacent to a large gazebo stocked with liquor.
The live band was jamming, setting the tone of the evening with cheerful soca music and Caribbean calypso tunes.
The vibe was genuine, the people were friendly and the ambiance was relaxing yet lively.
I mentioned this to my dad and, he began to praise the host (who is his best friend) for his successes.
But what struck me most during our conversation was how he defined his friend’s successes and didn’t allow it to minimize the impact of his own.
Both men have made it to the top.
My dad worked his way to the top of a corporate company and his family friend is a serial entrepreneur.
They are both successful! Each person followed their own path and recognized what was for them instead of trying to fit someone else’s dream into their reality.
And it gets better.
Both men prioritize their mental health, treat everyone with respect no matter their title, and truly value the extraordinary moments in everyday life.
It’s Time For A New Definition of Success!
Sis, let’s make a difference.
It’s time for a new definition of success!
Let’s actually do things we truly want to do, support causes that we truly care about, and be who we want to be, not who we’re supposed to be based on the digital world we see.
We need to take these words by Anne Sweeney, current President of Netflix, to heart:
Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.
If that means having a family, do it!
Or, if you’ve decided that being successful doesn’t include the white picket fence, then that’s okay!
Make sure that your success is intrinsic – it makes you happy, it doesn’t compromise your health and that you have inner peace.