After researching the formal definition of Success, I found it to be as follows:
- the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
- the attainment of popularity or profit.
- a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.
So, the question is, how do you define success….for you?
Last week I had a fabulous reunion with amazing women who I used to be in a mastermind group with.
After catching up on the good, bad and the ugly of our lives and indulging in a lot of laughter, we got into a serious conversation about the journey of growing our businesses and the meaning of success, as women and entrepreneurs.
While most of us are mothers, some of us aren’t, so we come to our lives and businesses from different experiences, but the stories they had to share with me about their entrepreneurial paths and the interactions they have been having with other women were both shocking and disturbing.
Y’all know me by now.
I’m a #rawandreal, “become the woman you are meant to be”, “we are all stronger together”, create the life you love and love you deserve, feminine warrior for all women.
So when these women shared their behind-the-scenes experiences while participating in other “six and seven figure business” mastermind groups , with experts, coaches and “guru’s” who “sold” them programs promising to grow their businesses exponentially and with women who they thought were their mentors, I was blown away.
They had stories of women who tried to convince them of what they would have to sacrifice to be a “real” and “successful” female entrepreneur and they were judged and shamed when they chose not to sacrifice those things (like time with their partners, children or self-care).
They had stories of women who reacted jealously when hearing of another woman’s success.
They had stories of women whose real lives and businesses are nothing like what they say they are and who portray themselves as something other than what they really are, only as a means of looking like models of inspiration and examples of “success”.
They had stories of women “pretending” to love and support each other and then behind each other’s backs, participate in marginalizing, gossiping and sabotaging them outside of the group or sacred coaching relationships.
They shared stories of women for whom the image and perception of their success was far more important than and came at the expense of fulfillment in their real and personal lives.
It literally broke my heart.
While I am a lot of things, I am not all that naïve. And yet, I was taken by surprise that this was their experience and frankly, that women I know, admire and love as colleagues and thought-leaders could be and act like this.
And so, it got me thinking, as things always do when I am surprised by them.
You see I already know that most women don’t come clean with what they really want and how they really feel; but what I regularly forget is that this is true for ALL women.
Young women and older women.
And brilliant, powerful women as well.
The stories they shared with me just confirm how out of touch most of us are with what success means in our own lives and what happens when we aren’t living a life that is truly “successful” by our own, personal definition.
So, what does success look like for you?
Success can’t always be measured in dollars, business growth, body weight, clothing size, possessions, address, designer handbag, professional title or “positive”, uplifting facebook page.
I can say with confidence and pride that my business is not a six figure business. I hope that over time it will grow to that level so that I can not only remain financially self-sufficient, but so that I can spend my money in ways that fully express what matters most to me and will make a difference for the people I love and world I treasure.
I have continued to work a “day job” which provides me with a wonderful opportunity to grow professionally, secure a consistent paycheck and focus my business on serving and supporting women, not an urgent need to sell, sell, sell.
I also can say that after almost 8 years together (yes, we are well past the “honeymoon” phase of our relationship!), I get to have a sleepover with my best friend every night. We giggle, talk, sleep, snore and deepen our connection when we reconnect in bed each night, no matter what our individual days look like.
When my phone rings and I hear one of my sons’ deep, masculine voice on the other end asking if I have time to talk, I joyfully and happily stop what I am doing to honor his choice to call on me for guidance, wisdom and advice.
I decline to schedule client calls during the times I have allocated for working out, even if it may frustrate them to move the call to a later time during the week because I am committed to taking care of the one and only body I have been given in this life.
I am sure that these choices impact the rate of growth of my business and quite possibly the revenue I have been able to generate to date.
I also know that not only is there no way for me to “prove” the quality of my relationship with my man, my children, my body or myself, and I feel no need to have to do that to justify my choices with you.
I am deliriously happy in my life.
Ok, “deliriously” may be slightly exaggerated, but it is actually true.
Yes, there is plenty of raw and real turbulence in my life, but I am clear on what success means for me and I have created my life around that. I have and continue to make sacrifices that align with my definition of success and let go of what others may think should be success for me.
But when we, as women, choose not to come clean and instead live our lives around the image we want to portray as successful, that don’t necessarily align with our true happiness, bad things happen.
We get jealous.
We marginalize other women (even if we really don’t mean to).
We unintentionally sabotage other women.
We stop leading from a place of service, and it isn’t attractive.
I don’t have to get married to legitimize the incredible quality and sustainability of my relationship.
I don’t have to quit my “day job” to prove that I consider myself worthy of entrepreneurial success.
I don’t have to work weekends, nights and every minute in between to justify my competence and commitment to my business.
I don’t have to post pics of my body to feel good about it.
And neither do you.
I feel great in my life, and because I am deliriously happy, there is nothing more important to me than supporting you to feel the same way. I can love and support you the way I do myself.
No one, especially another woman, has the right to define what success looks or feels like for you. The question is, have you defined it for yourself and have you been able to design your life around it?