In my twenties and thirties, and into my forties, I defined success in terms of career achievement and the financial security therein. Each time a career goal did not work out, the more focused I’d become on finding the right one. The more I failed, the more determined I became that if I just had a career, my life would be good, I’d finally be okay. Getting what I lacked became my single focus.
This tenacity was admirable, but it blinded me to other measures, truer measures, of success.
If asked how I defined success, I would have provided more noble answers—raising my children well, serving God and others, being the best version of myself. But my actions, obsessions, depression betrayed reality. If I defined success by more than career and its financial benefits, why did each failure come with such loss of well-being and identity? Why did not having a career make me feel like a piece of discarded trash?
The answer is simple. Since I defined success only in terms of career, failing at career meant I was a failure.
Questions for Discussion:
How do you define success? Are you certain?