I’ve always felt a lot of pressure to be a “girlboss” or start my own business and prove something, but what if I don’t want to anymore? I am realizing there is a huge lack of encouragement for women NOT to be a businesswoman, not to work endlessly, and not to work hard/play hard. I’ve felt so unsettled and bad about myself lately because I’ve only considered myself as successful if I was making money doing what I love. Yet, I’ve been doing that for a long time, so why do I still feel inadequate? What does success really mean anyway?
One of my mentors told me “getting married was (my) biggest accomplishment thus far.” I reacted quite similarly to how I did when Mike proposed to me - initial shock, then total agreement! I am realizing how much time I’ve spent so worried about being successful in my career, that I’ve missed the chance to appreciate the best things about my life so far: a caring husband, a beautiful home, a passion to live. I’m slowly realizing that these are things I can be proud of and feel successful for achieving as well. My current model of success: “have a job you love,” “work hard,” and “make money,” leave me feeling empty and unsatisfied, which is not the way I want to keep living life. Most people would think that's a great model for success, but for me, there's still something missing. Getting paid to do what you love is great, don't get me wrong, but you'd do it for free anyways, so what's the point? Making money is awesome of course, but is that enough? Is that success? What happens after you've achieved that? The answer is nothing. Nothing happens. You're just left with your thoughts about what it means to have accomplished what you've set out to do and your attitude towards that. Never have I equated “getting married” with “success” but in a way, I guess it makes sense. It is something in my life that gives me purpose, love and understanding - why shouldn't I feel success in that?
There is a line in the Yoga Sutras, “Mana eva manushyanam karanam band mokhayoho,” it translates to, “As the mind, so the man; bondage or liberation are in your own mind.” Basically it means if you feel stuck, you are stuck. If you feel free, you are free. If I think I’m terrible for not starting a business right now, I am terrible. If I feel awesome about being a wife, I am awesome. The things outside of us don’t hold us down or free us, only our attitude toward them does that. No one else can change my attitude about success but me.
So starting now, this is my new definition of success: To live a fulfilling and meaningful life. Whether that’s by being true to career goals, family aspirations, or a blend of both, or none of those things at all - I get to decide. Regardless of whether this type of meaning can be scientifically proven, or redefined in the dictionary, I choose to follow my own belief of what success means, because what I believe to be the truth for myself is both what binds me and liberates me. Next time you’re feeling stuck, take a step back and look at how you define success. Write it down. Reflect upon it. What is it that you want? Is that what success means to you? Think about whether you are truly stuck, or if you’re attitude about it is what’s actually holding you back. I believe you can “have it all” in life, if you’re clear about what it is you want.