Coffee Talk: Defining Success on your Own Terms

Life is a funny thing. Humans are funny creatures. We are all so different and unique in many ways, and I oftentimes see others trying to measure up to each other based on what their neighbor defines as success. For some, success is becoming a CEO, for others, success is being able to travel the world. For some, success is getting married and becoming a parent, for others success is finding love in oneself and being an individual. Some may measure success based on the amount of time they are able to volunteer to a charity, others may measure success based on the amount of money they are able to donate.

There are SO many different versions and variations of success that it is dizzying. What you define as success & happiness may not be what someone else defines as success for themselves, vice versa.

Everything everyone does is put on display for all to see.  This can be perfect when you want to stay in touch with friends and family – however it can distract you from your goals and your definitions of success when you see all the different kinds and types of happiness & successes.  It’s like a buffet of happiness, “Hmm which brand of success should I choose today??”  It’s disorienting and delusional. It’s important to step back and check-in with yourself every day to make sure you’re living a life that is in the direction that YOU choose and in the direction that is authentic to you.

I’ve been working on being more intentional. I spent most of my life going through the motions, doing what I was told. I never truly had to think for myself. I was truly asleep for a solid 22 years of life.

You’re born, you’re told to go to school, you’re told to do well, you go to college – because that’s just what you do, you pick a degree, and you graduate – a perfect template to follow with minimal thinking. It’s not until you actually graduate that things start to get a little sticky. You look around cautiously thinking, “now what?” and I think we start looking to others to see what they’re doing, because we have no clue what is going on or even how to remotely navigate our own path. Your identity is tied up in your past, and the old template you were following. At least that was me. So then you’re unhappy because you’re looking around at everyone else and it just doesn’t feel right for you.

It’s been a long road, a five year journey to discover who I actually am; A road of taking time out to actually think and not just do-do-do and go-go-go.  A road of making intentional choices about who I want to surround myself with, how I want to treat people, goals I want to accomplish, and be a person I truly want to be.

This reality can be crippling for some. It is truly a make or break event. But if you choose to let it make you, it can be one of the greatest, hardest, most gratifying experiences of your life. Sitting with yourself and defining success and happiness on your own terms is challenging, but well worth the work. You must keep your eyes in your own lane. You must understand that everyone has their time to “shine” and their time for “stillness”. Do not measure where you are at on your journey to anyone else’s because you have different roads.

The best part? You get to constantly reevaluate yourself and decide what is important to you, what feels authentic to you, and what most represents your truest self every day. The other best part? If it breaks you, you can always pick up the pieces and try again.

Good luck out there! It’s a big beautiful world, and you have some success to define and capture!

xx, Alex


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    Great article Alex! Hard for me to believe you spent 22 years asleep and conforming. I spose we all have to do that to an extent and we learn the gray area of morality as we get older, but i know youve always been creative and held your own. Love you beautiful girl and keep writing and growing!

    1. Alex says:

      Thanks sis!! I feel like in a lot of ways I paved my own way, but in others I comprised or “followed” a template to be safe. I think perhaps I always disagreed with the “template” but never knew how to articulate it until I spent time reflecting. Thanks for reading! 💕

  2. kammiejjrussel says:

    This is wonderful! Congrats on a great blog! Looks like you’re killing it and happy doing what you love!

    TL & M

    1. Alex says:

      Thank you for reading, Kam! Hope everything is going well with you (art, life, etc.) 🙂

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