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I can’t think of a more unclear word.
That is, one that I despise so much. My entire life I’ve chased this abstract word.
This word with no clear definition.
A small measure of academic achievement was first, social inclusion and acceptance was second. Then there was a career and good salary.
Then buying a big house. Then wanting people to know that I had a big house. Then hard work, then promotion, then more sweat, then promotion, then life compromise, then promotion, then…
I chased success the way kids chase lightning bugs. Over there, grab it. Now it’s there, go grab it. I was searching for a flash of light in a dark place.
BECAUSE I WAS LOST!
Do you know what else came with all of that great success?
The build up of a pretentious tool bag.
A guy who would spend his night in hotel bars escaping instead of building vitality through exercise.
A guy who forgot how much art and creativity meant to him.
A guy that valued having lots of “friends” over crafting special and unique friendships. A guy that would let alcohol consume and control his life.
A guy that would wake up in Fulton County prison covered in pepper spray seeping through every inch of his skin.
A guy that wanted to help other people, but forgot to help other people.
All while continuing down the path of corporate “success”, presenting to executives and lighting the cash on fire.
I was a guy that forgot how much he loved life without the extra additives. A guy that forgot how precious family was.
A man that forgot to grow into a man.
Someone that would take responsibility to own their life. Someone who forgot to travel and see the world.
Someone who forgot that life’s greatest joys are simple, and free.
Remember the big house? It means nothing to me now. The nice neighborhood with the perfectly landscaped yards – forget it.
I like campfires with my family. I like random weekend trips where we pile into a car and leave the world behind.
I like watching my daughter laugh and learn and grow. I like looking into her eyes at night and holding in her my arms.
Do I still want to make money? Of course, but it’s not success. It’s just one outcome.
More importantly, I like LEARNING. I like GROWING.
I like challenging my mind and creating things from nothing. I like being an artist, a businessman, and an entrepreneur. A lover of life and all of it’s great gifts.
It took a while, but I finally learned the true definition of success.
THERE ISN’T ONE!
It’s NOT one thing. It’s NOT a prescribed formula of the same things for every single person. And it’s NOT for anyone else to decide.
IT’S UP TO YOU!
You decide what success is.
Here’s a secret. You’ll want to find fulfillment.
Fulfillment takes work. Find something hard that you enjoy doing, and do that.
Being a good parent is a lot of work. It’s not spending time on Facebook while your kids are at the park. It’s spending time having meaningful conversations with them. Being creative and seizing opportunities to do something that will stay with them forever.
Go run in the rain. Bring MUD in from outside and a build chocolate castle on your dining room table.
Success is being genuine. Success is being true to yourself and doing the things that you love to do. Success is working hard for the things you value most in life. Success is being a great friend. A great son or daughter.
Someone who spends time to emotionally give back or support the people that they truly cherish and love. Success is made up of a whole lot of things that are easy to forget.
But here’s the takeaway. There is no single definition.
You no longer have to live by someone else’s standard or worry about what others believe.
You now have a base to stand on far more clear than most others will ever imagine.
This is your journey and it all starts right here, right now.
Don’t let the world define success for you. DEFINE it for yourself and then OWN it.
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