To lean in, to lean out, to fail forward, to fail, to fall down and rise back up, to sit and watch others move. There are so many ways people tell you how you can become successful it is hard to know which way to go. Perhaps the biggest issue is that we have an incessant need to define our successes, failures, and how we balance it all based on others. This past year has been a huge growing experience for me and one of the biggest things I learned is that I was allowing others to define my success. I don’t hate others’ ideas or secrets to their success, they are all good jumping off points. But the biggest thing we can learn from all of it is our definitions of success, failure, and balance are not alike. We can and should learn from other people and their experiences but we should not measure our lives against theirs. We do it so often subconsciously; I would bet most of us don’t even know we are allowing outside influences affect our perception of success and failure.
For so long I thought I had to ‘climb the ladder’ to fulfill the success I longed for in my life. What I have realized was the kind of success I was aiming for then actually looked a lot like other people’s definition of it but not necessarily my own. So I climbed and I attempted to remain balanced. What did I learn? That balance is one of the most futile endeavors. This is especially true in regards to success, failure, career, and family. We are all always looking for it but always feel we are falling short of it. Are we falling short because we allowing others to define our success and failure? I believe the answer to that is yes. Each one of us, if we removed outside influences, would define success differently. We would define failure very differently. Would we even know how to define balance? Balance is whatever you want it to be. There will always be one thing in a moment, day, or year that is the most important thing in our life. What that is doesn’t matter. Are you happy? Are you fulfilled? These are the things that matter. Balance isn’t even the right word to use, that implies equality amongst the things in our life and that just isn’t physically possible. Maybe the right word on some days is controlled chaos. Maybe some days it is a true balance. Hell, let’s be honest there are plenty of days the correct term is cluster f*ck. But you know what? That is OK. The inability to balance everything, or at times just plain fail, can bring its own set of important lessons and eventual fulfillment. You are the only one that can determine how to define your success, how to respond to your failures, and how you can best live a life you are proud of. A life you are content with. The best part is that they are ever changing.
What I felt defined my success even 6 months ago has completely changed. We grow and we learn. We face challenges and failures. We live a little and explore the world around us. After all of that we must allow ourselves to be the creator of a perfectly imbalanced, sometimes failing, and ever evolving successful life.