Who Defines Your Success?

September 17, 2014

Success Blog Post Graphic

Unless you’ve been blissfully living in the woods for all of your days, you’re probably quite familiar with the amount of pressure our culture places upon us to be successful. These pressures can be perpetrated by our families, friends and environments, but that only serves to make things more intense and stressful if anything. As freelancers or self-employed boss ladies, the pressure to succeed is often doubled or tripled. Not only do we supposedly have to live up to what society expects of us, but we also don’t want to let our loved ones down and, on top of all of that, we have all these incredibly talented businesses to compete with! Whoa.

Let’s just stop the madness, shall we? Whether you’re 15 or 55, don’t let anyone else tell you how your success should look. With social media and the constant need to feel connected, that’s especially tough. Whenever you scroll through your Instagram feed or hop on Facebook, it’s impossible to miss posts from other businesses or colleagues celebrating new promotions, contracts or a great personal milestone. It’s easy to quickly cross the line from feeling happy for that person to comparing their progress to your own, wondering why you aren’t where they are or perhaps why your lives don’t measure evenly. I feel it, too. It’s all too easy to overlook my own achievements and wonder what I’m doing wrong that hasn’t landed me the same opportunities or number of sales as so-and-so. Isn’t that ridiculous?

You are not the same as your competition, as your best friend or as that one girl you friended on Facebook after that one college party. You are unique. So are your values, goals and personal achievements. With that in mind, shouldn’t your measure of success be different from everyone else’s? Shouldn’t your vision of success, be it personal, professional or both, be an accurate reflection of who you are and what you hope to accomplish? Absolutely! So why are we still allowing society, the internet and goodness knows who else to set those markers for us?

Because it’s hard. In some ways, it’s easier to let someone else’s parameters for success be our own. Defining success for ourselves is scary, it can be hard and it looks different from what everyone else is doing. And that’s so beautiful. Defining your own success may be scary, but that’s simply because you’ve never done it before. It may be hard, but that’s simply because no one has walked the exact same path that you one day will. It looks different because you, as a wonderfully unique individual, are marching to the beat of your own drum.

While Susie Q. may be doing x number of sales in her business, maybe that’s not the right end game for you. Maybe you’re in business to do something greater for others through your products or services, so maybe making x number of dollars isn’t where the value lies. In life and in business, you have to sit down and consider what success means to you. It may mean making six figures and retiring early. That’s awesome! Or it may mean keeping your business small so you can focus on one-on-one customer interactions. That’s equally fantastic!

Regardless of what success means to you, stick with it. Don’t let strangers on the internet creep in and get you off course. They mean well but they have no idea what track to success you’re coasting down, so why let their experiences negatively affect how you do life? I wish I could hand you a one size fits all sort of roadmap to living a successful life, but I can’t. No matter where you are in life, take the time to sit down and thoughtfully analyze where you’re headed and how you’d like to get there. However you choose to go about it, know that I’m cheering you on.

  1. Sarah Smith

    September 17th, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Thank you for this. You are so right!! It’s so simple to get upset when we see others’ success, but everything you said is right. We are DIFFERENT and that’s the core of our business and our SELF. So while so-and-so might make 5,000 sales, they might not be as overjoyed about what they do, they might not offer as many “YAY!”s in their customer service. Stay true to your heart!! I really needed this, and I already know what kind of success I want!

  2. Bonnie Bakhtiari

    September 22nd, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I’m so glad this was encouraging, Sarah! Staying true to the core of your brand is the best way towards the kind of success you want!

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I'm Bonnie -- a designer, brand designer + strategist, writer, wife, and pet parent to the most rambunctious golden retriever this side of the Mason-Dixon! I'm passionate about building authentic brands, encouraging small business owners to chase their dreams, and spreading joy through design. It's a delight to have you here, lovely! Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair and stay a while, won't you?

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