A few years ago, I got into a debate with a friend about exactly what “success” meant. I’m ashamed to admit that I was on the more traditional side of that argument—money made, books sold, best seller lists, recognition and so on. I maintained that I was nowhere near successful.
Over the last couple years, I’ve taken a hard look at how I want to spend my days and what’s important to me. My definition of success has shifted significantly.
I don’t normally watch “inspirational” videos, but a friend I admire, Tom Hindman, posted one this morning. I clicked on it and it moved me.(Unfortunately, the YouTube version isn’t complete so this link is on Facebook.) Take three minutes and watch it. Think about what it says and ask yourself if you’re doing what moves you.
I get frustrated when I see people complaining about their lives and what they’re doing. I want to shout, “If you don’t like your situation, change it!” On the whole it’s probably easier to complain than it is to take a risk and find something new; something that moves us. But think of all the time and energy that’s wasted.
Not everyone is creative, not everyone can write, or paint or whatever. I get that. But you can still do whatever it is that moves you. The video asks the question: “What would you do if money was no object?” That’s what you should be pursuing. No one said you have to quit your job, sell your stuff and move to Tibet. Do something on the side, take a class; volunteer or start a side business. Slowly (but inexorably) you will move in the direction you want to go.
A friend I worked with years ago in California, Chris Rausch, is still the Materials Director for PADI. On the side, he runs his own business Master Motivators. He speaks all over helping people to find their passion. I’m sure he hopes to make it a full-time gig at some point. For now, though, he is working both jobs and everything he talks about it super upbeat and excited. Another friend of mine from college, Kelly Hines Keller, is a self-employed graphic designer, but she is also interested in film. For the third (or fourth) year in a row, she has volunteered at the Sundance Film Festival, wears herself out and has a blast every time she does it. I love that they are both finding their passions and enjoying lives. I never hear or see either of them post anything that is remotely negative. The thing is, everyone can find that sort of passion if they try.
I just saw a note that a high school classmate, Teresa (Iwrote about her earlier this year) is still struggling with cancer. She continues to fight for her life and only wants to support her family. If you’re dealing with that sort of adversity, then you get a pass—although something tells me that in Teresa’s mind she is working every day toward her real passion—health and family.
I’m still not a “success” in terms of books sold or any of those other measurements. But I am telling stories. I am excited about every day. That’s what moves me.
How about you? What moves you? When you answer that question, your definition of success will probably shift, too.