Measuring Success

Seasons of Life

The other day I heard my friend Hitha speak at an event about leadership. She talked a lot about her relationship with work and with her family and how those two parts of her intertwine in different ways.

She is an author and spent a lot of last year writing her book on top of a million other projects she’s juggling. So this year, she’s pumping the breaks a bit on work to focus on our family. Not that she’s not working. She’s just not taking on an inordinate amount.

Hearing her say this out loud made me feel… relief. For the last two years, I’ve felt so stuck. Like I’m treading water at a million miles a minute and not getting anywhere. And failing at everything I do.

For the first time in my life, I haven’t felt the urge to hustle for the next big step. But it turns out that working towards a goal is a huge part of who I am so I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis.

When she mentioned that she is in a different season of her life right now and she feels good about that, it struck a nerve and made me really understand, for the first time in two years, that I actually love this season of life.

So much of how I’ve measured my success in the past has been based on promotions and raises (when I was in a traditional work environment), and later getting more followers, more engagement, more clients, more collaborations, and hitting higher and higher financial goals.

When I heard her talk about her new season of life I realized that in my current season of life, it’s ok to measure success differently. I have a job that is fun and flexible, I get to put my kids to bed every night, and I actually have a life outside of work!

I spend less time in front of a computer now than ever and that’s ok. I still bring in the income that my family needs, but instead of firing up the ole’ laptop after the kids go to sleep or waking up at 5:30 in the morning to get up another blog post or pitch a new project, I’ve really accepted the fact that it’s ok to be on a plateau career-wise for a minute.

I’m a better mom, I have more patience with my kids, and I’m able to spend time with them without feeling like my brain is somewhere else. I also have cultivated beautiful relationships with friends and neighbors. And that is how I’d like to measure my success this year.

Until I heard Hitha say what she said, I felt like a failure. Without growth and without that next big step, was I letting my family down?

But I’m not letting my family down. I am able to read my daughter a book every night before bed. I laugh and play on the floor with my children every morning. We have had more family dinners around the dining room table than ever.

Those wins aren’t traditionally measured as a success but my shift in attitude has me thinking that we should celebrate those wins just as much as hitting a career goal.

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