Success means different things to different people, but there is one quote by Maya Angelou that rings true to me:
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
I grew up thinking that success equaled money, recognition, and achievement. Everyone seemed to be striving for these things in order to be successful, because being successful meant being happy.
I went from living in extreme poverty to having money, recognition, and achievement. I then heard other voices saying: all you need is love. What good is material success if you don’t have love? So I adopted this limiting belief and gave it all up in this search for love.
That didn’t work – I liked what I did, and I liked how I did it, but I still didn’t like myself – who I’d become. But I didn’t tell anyone I had settled. I didn’t tell anyone that I was depressed and only the love for my babies prevented me from taking my life. I just went along, looking like I had it all together, feeling like maybe I gave up too quickly and I should have just continued accruing certificates, awards, possessions, and zeros on the savings account. There was a limiting belief pity-party in my head!
And then I became a single mom. Now everyone would know I was a failure. I left all I had built and ruined what I had going for me, only to end up with nothing: no love, no money, no accomplishment, and no recognition… I had nothing and, now in a different country, I had to start from scratch.
I had been a stay at home mom and did not have a job lined up. With two toddlers who relied solely on me, I had to provide and perform. Knowing English meant that I would be able to find a decent job, but where to start? I guess love is NOT all you need, after all.
I would push the double stroller to the nearest library, read the classifieds and get on the computer to e-mail numbers to my sister so she could fax my resume from the Dominican Republic to potential employers in the U.S.A. I didn’t have enough money to fax all those pages.
In two weeks, I was hired by a law firm as a bilingual receptionist. My friend Dania took this picture of me the day I got the job and sent it to my family back home (it was 3 days before my birthday, my 3 year anniversary in the U.S. and 11 days before Christmas LOL).
Soon I became a Notary Public and a Legal Assistant and became really good at what I did. I enjoyed working hard and was really thankful to have the means to support my little girls. I started to get money, recognition, and achievement again, but I was painfully aware, this was not what I loved.
I didn’t see myself living this life, being in this profession forever, and being away from my daughters for so many hours, every day! I wished I could spend more time with my babies. I wished I didn’t have to drop them off at daycare on week days, I wish I didn’t have to take them to work with me on the weekend to “finish up.” And I wished I could do something I truly loved. That would be success.
Have you ever felt that way? Perhaps you feel like that right now.
Perhaps you are afraid that it won’t work out, overwhelmed with the “what if’s” of uncertainty. Perhaps you silence your inner voice telling yourself to not fix what isn’t broken and just be content where you are. Or maybe you don’t think you have what it takes and dismiss your vision with “if only’s” that sabotage your success.
I’ve lived through each of those stages and one day I decided to just jump and take a leap of faith. I think it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. But once I realized that doing what I love and loving what I do is what brings fulfillment, true success and genuine happiness, I put my pig-headed determination to work for me. I was going to be a mompreneur, more like a momPRAYneur. I was going to quit my job and work from home!
And I found something I loved and I loved doing it, and I loved how I did it. But this also meant facing new challenges and a hard journey of growth toward the seemingly impossible task of liking, even loving, myself.
Maybe you’re reading this thinking you don’t know your gift, your one thing, your true calling, your God-given purpose, or even your passions. I didn’t either… I just knew it didn’t look like my circumstances and I had to make a shift in a different direction… and God has continued to guide my steps.
In June of 2005, just 2 months after I incorporated my web design and digital marketing business, the late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, said these powerful words in a commencement address at Stanford University:
“…The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
The reason success means something different to everyone on Earth is because success is not something you can achieve but something you experience when you are doing great work that comes from love.
I experience success when I see the good I do as a mother as much as I do when I’m on stage motivating moms, or when one of my coaching students has a breakthrough in a one-on-one session. I experience success when I receive monetary compensation because it is one of the indicators of the value I am bringing to those I partner with. I experience success when I rise above my challenges, whether it looks like figuring out a recipe, going to sleep a little earlier, having the courage to say no, or winning a prestigious award. There are not set rules and there’s no finish line.
In order to experience success, you must have the clarity of what success means to you and understand the clues of what success feels like. And some will tell you it’s easy and they’ve always known their gift and their passion, but it’s not that easy.
Fortunately, success is a science, so we can get better at it as we study it and learn from those who constantly experience it. It’s imperative to become coachable!
Last year, I attended Steve Harvey’s Act Like A Success Live Stream and I made sure I made the most of it and you can too! I learned a lot, made powerful connections in the chat area and the Facebook group, and gained clarity to push me to higher levels of success in every area of my life.
The more I learn about success, the more I experience it, because Progress IS Success. And this year as a result of what I learned from my live stream attendance, I will graduate from Steve Harvey’s School Of Business Acceleration as part of Class 2017! I will also be part of the Act Like a Success Social Media Team once again.
I would love for you to experience this next level of success with me and to understand that before I could turn my passion into my paycheck, and to really feel successful I had to see myself as worthy, deserving of these opportunities, I had to learn to love myself!
Do you do what you love? Do you love how you do it? Do you love yourself? Tune in to the Act Like A Success Live Stream, sponsored by Green Dot, to learn how to make progress experience radical, holistic, and sustainable success. You can follow me along using #ALAS2017, too!