What Does Success Mean To You?


I typically call my mom every time I am in the car, unless I am engaged in an “unputdownable” podcast. Can you believe, unputdownable, is a word?? Today, we had an impromptu conversation on success and “What does success mean to you?”.

This was the perfect topic to discuss next on the blog. Last post, we discussed vulnerability and my experience with it this past weekend. All of the responses I have received to my post are all soo kind and loving. But still, every now and then I go into a dark hole and feel so embarrassed for admitting everything online but then I remember that vulnerability is worth it. Actually, for the first time in my life I actually feel “success”.

In the Merriam Webster dictionary, success is defined as a favorable or desired outcome; the attainment of wealth, favor, eminence. I think I have done a lot in my life that I should feel successful for. Some things that come to mind are over coming my eating disorder, running the Boston Marathon, getting my Doctorate in Physical Therapy, buying a house in my 20’s, and running 30 miles for my 30th birthday.

Why did I not find these things successful?

Was I not in sync with myself enough to have an idea of what success even meant?
Did I experience and overcome my eating disorder in silence and have no one to share those moments with? So my success went unnoticed?
Did I do those things just because I thought those were things that had to be done for the path I was on?
Or am I just one tough cookie who literally loves doing hard things and had a blast running 30 miles for my birthday instead of going out with friends? And therefore did not find that as successful because it was all fun for me?
I am rambling because as I am typing I am trying to discover why?

Maybe because…

I really do think my mental toughness and ability to endure is why I blocked out feelings of success. I did one hard thing and then I simply wanted another hard thing to do. I never set boundaries and a description on what success meant to me. Or maybe deep down none of those things actually brought me the feeling of success because they were all missing one little piece.

The missing piece

All of my “should have been successful moments” were missing a piece. The piece where I was absolutely, 100% myself, honest to everyone, and had no fear.

I have never been this honest. Therefore I have never felt more true. So I think I finally know what success means to me: Living authentically true to myself. Including where I came from, what I am made of, and by being open and vulnerable. And in doing so, knowing that whatever it is I want to do, it may be messy at first, but that is okay.

I just want to help others see that this side of the street is a pretty good place to be. This post was almost like a journal entry. I had no idea where it was going to go, and without thinking too much about it I was able to arrive at what success means to me. Journaling can be a pretty useful tool!

So, maybe start asking yourself:

  • Have you ever felt true success
  • Was this based on how you defined success, or how someone else in your life defined it for you?
  • If not, what does success mean to you?

Leave me a comment if you feel comfortable sharing your answers. Share your favorite podcast or book. Let me know if you journal and if there is a journal out there you are in love with.

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