*Editor’s Note: I originally wrote and published this article on an old blog on February 9, 2012. In an effort to revisit old writings and see what’s worth sharing with the world again, I came across this. Even as I’ve left my 20’s now, I find it to stand true in exactly how I view life and how I try to define success.
I thought it would be nice to let this particular post continue it’s life online in case there are others who can relate to these sentiments.
The hardest thing about being a twenty-something-year-old, in my opinion, is that you still hold on to the belief that you can be anything you want to be. Just like your momma told you. The world is your oyster… or whatever. You can shut your eyes and imagine exactly where you know you should be – what job you’ll have (and love!), what your house will look like, your spouse (if you don’t already have one), the vacations you’ll take, and on and on. BUT oftentimes, you have no idea how to get there.
If you’re like me, you understand it takes hard work and nothing happens overnight. However, I have to ask myself what metaphorical “stairs” do I need to take to achieve success? But maybe even more importantly that that, what the hell do I even consider success? For the longest time I thought success meant I would one day have a job that I was great at, make lots of money, be in a leadership role – you know, run the show – and be able to take my money and do all the things I really love to do in my free time like travel the world or eat at overpriced restaurants.
But I think for the first time in my life, I’ve done the math. I spend more time working, than doing any other one task, so why would it have to be a means to an end? Work hard -> so I make money -> so I can do things I really want to do.
It doesn’t have to work like that. Or at least I don’t want to believe it does. I believe we can love our job, find fulfillment in it, learn new things, be constantly challenged, and look forward to it almost everyday (I mean, it is still work). And the kicker is… I believe I can do that AND still make money. I don’t have to sacrifice a good job and security and an expendable income to follow a career that I would truly be passionate about. I can have my cake and eat it too. (I love a good metaphor, can you tell?)
I guess I just need to figure out what it is that I really want to do. How does one find this out? How does one stumble upon a passion? Or is this a quest in life that never ends… finding that holy grail of success and passion and fulfilment? One thing I do know is that waiting for the elevator is not going to help me find it – so I think I have a few flights of stairs to take… maybe go up some and come back down before I find the right floor. But that’s okay, because I have no patience and I’ll probably go crazy waiting at the elevator anywhere.
How do you define success? How has that changed in the last 5 or 10 years?