Recently, I decided it was time I needed a life coach. I was excited for the journey for some clarity to be revealed. One of the first things I was asked was to describe what success means in three (yep – 3) words. Seriously – just three words. I can’t describe anything in three words. This question had me baffled.
I knew how I would have described it years ago. Easy! It would have revolved around name brands, life’s luxuries, name in lights, and money, money, money… Oh and stuff and more stuff! That was the path I was on then. Trying to keep up with the Jone’s.
But trying to come up with what success meant to me now was hard to put in words.
Over the years, I’ve realized that success isn’t necessarily defined as most Americans would describe it. Polls today show that teens see success as being rich and famous. And maybe that is easy to see. Shows, movies, and billboards taunt that kind of lifestyle.
Success is more than the big things we conquer.
I also see the stepping stones we must conquer everyday as success. Sometimes completing what seems to be the littlest of things is success. Just ask the mom who cries herself to sleep at night sorry for the anger that she lashed out upon her children, but then conquers that anger one day.
Have you battled loosing a few pounds? Tightening in your diet and grabbing extra time for exercise that leads to shedding a pound or two — success.
The struggle of defining success in the three words.
As I jotted down notes and tried to flesh out this seemingly crazy question, I realized I do want to be successful. I aim to be a successful as a writer, speaker, teacher, and of course not to mention wife and mother because those are things I’m passionate about. But if I never published another book would I deem myself a failure? I didn’t think so. If I never got to speak again would I think myself a failure? No. I was beginning to think I’d never come up with three words that describe success for me.
Finally the words living life passionately came to my mind.
I liked the sound of those three words. There are so many things that I enjoy that it is hard to rule some out for the sake of being successful in another area. That’s why I had such a hard time in college trying to figure out what I wanted to do.
On thing I know about myself is that if I’m not 110% sold out to what I’m doing I’m miserable. And I see true success as something that oozes true joy and peace. Something that stirs you soul, keeps you awake at night, and brings happiness to your every day.
So I typed-out these three words — living life passionately — and hit the send button. Seriously, I didn’t feel successful turning in those three words as my definition of success. It seemed I knew others would have had more sophisticated answers.
Later that evening I was recapping my day. It had been amazing! God had placed me at the right place at the right time to minister to a woman who was leaving an abusive relationship. I felt fully awake and alive! Was this success? I still found myself pondering over those three words I had turned in.
Living life passionately.
Then I received a text from a friend who said “How about lunch this week?” My heart screamed YES!!! This was a friend who I had met over a year ago. Back then she rarely smiled or looked you in the eyes. I had seen such tremendous growth in her and was so thankful that we had exchanged numbers a few weeks before when she shared that she didn’t have any good influences in her life. We set our lunch plans in motion and I was thrilled.
This was success for me. My path in life wasn’t about money or things. It was about slowing down to have time for those who needed a friend at the moment. Believing in them when they didn’t believe in themselves. Encouraging them to be successful.
As I crawled into bed that night I was on cloud nine. I lay there thinking,
“Yes — this is success, living life passionately! Encouraging the abused, and being there for a new friend who is ready to move beyond her present circumstances!”
Now I’ll challenge you, describe success to you in three words?