I struggled with how to approach the subject of success until I started thinking about a friend of mine and our differing mindsets. This friend is around my age and a journalist. She’s a talented writer even though she doesn’t believe it. She doesn’t believe a lot of things. Let me tell you a bit more about her.
I’m going to call her Lena which is sort of close to her actual first name. Lena has spent most of her adult life as a journalist working for small local papers. The landscape for those papers has become smaller and smaller over the last twenty years. Smaller papers struggle, they get bought out by larger media companies and then downsized before eventually being closed.
Lena found herself out of a job and at a stage of her life where she wasn’t willing to uproot herself and move to another area to get work. Myself, and a few others tried to convince her that she could establish a freelance writing income and be her own boss. In Lena’s mind, she could only be successful if she had a job and received a regular income.
She believes this so firmly she extends that definition to others when she’s talking to them. She calls me on occasion and inevitably will come around to the “what are you doing for work” query. When I respond with writing here on Steem and my other projects, her invariable response is, “so you don’t have a job, eh?”
It irritates her when I respond with “Yes, I do. I work for me.”
I’ve had to realize we have two different success mindsets. Hers is set with a job is success and the better it pays, the more successful she is. She was raised in a home where dad worked for others and didn’t consider the possibility of being self-employed.
I was raised in a home where my parents worked for others initially and then struck out to run their own business. For them, success was working for them self and that has rubbed off on some of the family. As long as the business could pay the bills, they felt they were successful. If the business made enough to grow their wealth, they were even happier. They worked harder, but, they had the satisfaction of saying it was their’s
Financially, I just get by each month. My goal is to do better and to create more passive income. At the moment, I consider that I can pay my bills each month to be success. I can choose my hours, my projects and even where I write. To me, that is success. I am choosing what I do.
Another important aspect of success for me is my sense of community. If I can contribute in a way that helps and supports the journey of others, I consider that to be a success.
Others, like Lena, might disagree but at the end of the day, success has to be what matters to me. If it matters to others it’s not my success, it’s theirs.