When you think of the word success, what do you see? Do you see something someone else (parents, society, friends, the media) told you it “should” be? Or, do you see something uniquely yours?
For years I was hung up on what success was supposed to look like — what I heard from people in authority, my family, school, and what I saw just looking around me and in the media. For years I felt like a failure because I didn’t “fit in” to that mold. Yeah I wanted to feel successful and I wanted to reap some of the material perks of success, but I felt horrible day in and day out. Until I changed my definition of success to fit ME.
Well surely if you are a lesbian you understand what it means to feel like you don’t “fit in”. Even if you’ve evolved past the point of harboring internal homophobia or hanging onto the belief that a good daughter would grow up, get married, have kids, etc…..you have been there and experienced moments of being different. You know what it is like to try and shove a square peg in a round hole.
What does that have to do with success you ask? Well, to me success is only success if it is on your own terms. If you climb to the top of the mountain and get there only to realize you really wanted to live your life at the beach, well that’s a drag and disappointment to say the least.
Before you can achieve success on your own terms, you need to know what that looks like. Do you know what it looks like for you? What does it include?
- A successful career
- Owning your own business
- Lots of free time
- Pursuing a calling
- Earning lots of money
- Making a difference in the world
- A rich, fulfilling relationship with a partner
- A wide network of friends and community
- Living in the city
- Living in suburbia
- Living rural
- Time for creativity
- Raising a family
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking. Take a few minutes and list what success really looks like for you. It can be an eye-opener and get you thinking in a whole new way about what you want from your personal and professional life.