Friday, May 30, 2014

What Does Success Mean To You?

Purchase this print from Ryan Scheffield on Etsy. 



Success. It's a pesky little word, isn't it? 

Since taking the leap towards self-employment just a few weeks ago, I've been pondering the concept of success quite a bit. The flexibility that comes with working for oneself if astounding, but the responsibility can be daunting. If you don't make it happen you're not going to get paid, and all those bills that show up at the end of the month will get harder and harder to stomach. 

Things are going well enough with the photography business right now that I was confident enough to leave the 9 to 5 life. I'm grateful for that, but definitely still terrified of an uncertain future.  So many questions are always rippling through my head as I go through my day. 

Will I fail?

What am I doing wrong?

What do I need to do to join the ranks of the accomplished folk?  

I begin thinking about the successful people I want to emulate - Amazing photographers and accomplished bloggers who seem to have this "success" thing down. And I ask myself, time and time again, how do I become like them?

Maya Angelou said that "Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it." I think those words are beautiful, inspiring and incredibly articulate....but as I sit here I feel like shouting "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MONEY?! What about the GLORY? The FAME? The PRESTIGE?!?" 

I would be a liar who was faking humility (and we all know those are the worst kind of liars) if I said I truly wasn't interested in any of those things. I mean, If we're going to be completely honest with ourselves, as freelancers there are definitely certain "milestones" that we want to reach which we would equate to "success," right?  I, for one, would like to be booked out way in advance, to become an "authority" in my field, to fly all over the world for this and that, etc;, etc;, etc;,  

But even if I accomplish those things, then what? Will there be a moment when I wake up and think to myself "OH I DID IT! I'M A BIG SUCCESS!" and then proceed to purchase party hats and confetti and pizza to celebrate?  Probably not. My guess is even those I look up to the most are still working towards whatever they want in life.  They haven't "made it," because no one ever "makes it." Success is a constant journey of ups and downs and there is no destination. 

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that Maya Angelou is right. It's okay to want all of the glamorous things that go along with your idea of success, whether that's turning your business into a household name, becoming a household name yourself, or even just being able to afford a big fancy household of your own. If all of that was taken off the table, though, do you love who you are and what you're doing?

From now on I'll ask myself that question every day.

What does success mean to you? How would you define it in your own life? 


1 comment:

Emily S (Em Busy Living) said...

I agree! While humble to not talk about the fruits of our labor, everyone who is working towards something truly wants to see things come through for them! Here's wishing you all of the success you aim for :)

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