How do you define success?
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself while I’ve been navigating the some times dangerous mental territory I’ve encountered during my most recent hiatus. Is it making clients happy, or finally cleaning out that closet? Is it being patient with your demanding child or nagging mother, or coming in under budget on a shoot? Is it any or all of it?
The Webster’s online dictionary defines success as follows:
the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
synonyms: favorable outcome, successfulness, successful result, triumph;
the attainment of popularity or profit.
synonyms: prosperity, affluence, wealth, riches, opulence
a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.
I can appreciate that definition and honestly see a place for it in the English language, but I couldn’t stop hearing a soundtrack of Peggy Lee singing “Is that all there is” while reading it, nor could I shake the feeling that the definition of what the world thinks is success is not all there is and I could benefit from questioning both my beliefs and the world’s around what success really means.
So I did and I have and its not surprising to anyone who knows me that my ideas of success have morphed, shifted, twisted, and turned throughout the years and where I reside now is that success is an inside job which, if you are lucky, your outer world will reflect as well.
It takes courage to question what drives your life and to be willing to examine your definition of success but lets grab each other’s hand and take a baby step into exploration and discover where the joy is in our success. Lets unshackle from the idea that completing other people’s dreams is success and start giving credit to ourselves for following our joy.
There are many indicators of personal success like integrity, character, establishing and pursuing rich relationships with family and friends, and giving back to your community. Arriana Huffington says “To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving."
So what’s your personal vision of success? What do you hold closest to your heart, what do you cherish and value? Answers to these questions may help you find the trail of breadcrumbs that leads to your home of personal fulfillment.
I’m thinking success may not be as much about what we do but what we become as we are in the midst of doing. And giving myself credit for the little successes as well as the big vision ones is an essential part of finding my joy.
So as I move in between producing so many projects at once I can barely see straight and wondering if I will ever work in this town again I’m putting a new habit into practice. I’m taking notice of what makes me feel great, what I love to do, what fills me up and makes me feel alive. No matter how silly or small it may seem to someone else its bringing me joy and sure feels like success to me.
And hey, I’m feeling pretty great about cleaning out those closets and the shoot too!
See you on set.
P.S. if you don’t know the Peggy Lee song “Is that all there is”, do yourself a favor and check out: