The longer I live, the more I am convinced that a major part of the unhappiness and simple existence of humanity is because we are not determining what it means to be successful.
I know first-hand because I struggled under the weight of rising through the corporate ranks of an oil&gas company in a profession I did not feel called to nor that I believed was what I was meant to do. I was operating according to the prescribed "success manual" of go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a good job, get married in your late 20s, have children by your 30s, save money in your 401(k) to have $1MM saved by retirement, etc, etc, etc.
This success manual was nothing like what I deeply desired growing up as a kid....all I really wanted to do was be Wonder Woman! Before you think that's a silly notion, let me explain. To me, Wonder Woman was the embodiment of a brave, courageous woman living on her own terms, in accordance to her talents&giftings and making a difference in the process.
That seems really simple right???
So how did I end up with a job I hated that was giving me stomach ulcers and a complete lack of focus on what was important to me? Easy. I ended up there because I never stood back and determined whether that success manual was what I wanted and if not, what it was that I wanted and decide how to design my life around my definition of success.
Don't we all do that?
And for the record, this is not just about working in corporate and becoming an entrepreneur. I know plenty of people who are happy working in their corporate jobs and who are active in their communities. If that's what you want...great! Just make sure that's what you want!
And don't just take it from me, here's what Marie Forleo recently said on her website: "I was thrilled when Claire, one of our readers, wrote in because she
was feeling a bit torn between a more traditional view of success (big
money, big job, etc.) and the unique calling of her soul.
Taking the time to challenge assumptions — both societies and our own
— is something I feel very strongly about. Especially as it relates to
such a relative and often loaded concept as “success.”
Because when you have the courage to question what you’re doing and,
more importantly, why you’re doing it — you stay on your edge of
innovation, truth and lasting fulfillment."