Success, in My Own Words
A deep dive into what success means to me.
How will your eulogy read? Will there be a litany of achievements recited with no personal attributes to be seen or will there be testimonies of the type of person you were and the impact you had on the lives of others?
This is a thought that I have every so often when I check in with myself. Yes, it could be interpreted as morbid, but I see it as motivation to stay centered and live the best life that I can.
For me, success is intertwined with living a good life and the legacy that one leaves behind.
Consequently, I may never get to know how much success I end up achieving.
When one thinks of success, the immediate images that come to mind are often career and money or vice versa. While these components can be interchangeable indicators of success, neither are the full measure of success as I qualify it.
How your loved ones and friends remember you as a person is what will live on. The kind of spouse, parent, friend, or colleague you were is what will be memorialized. How you treat people and the impact you make on the world around you in the short time you have on earth is what you can hang your hat on at the end of the day.
As he should be, my husband is everything to me. Marriage is a commitment that both parties make every day. Within any relationship, you continue learn and discover new things about each other as the years go on. It takes discernment to listen to your spouse and truly hear them through the words that they say. To know what it is that your partner needs from you and how you can provide it. Giving my husband the emotional support he needs, communicating with him using his love language and partnering with him to raise our child and run our household, are all aspects that lend themselves to me being a successful wife.
Speaking of the household, for most of my childhood, I did not have a model of a woman in the household bringing in a steady income. After my grandma retired, I witnessed my mother job hop with prolonged periods of time without employment in between. When the topic of working came up at school, unlike my classmates, I didn’t have an answer as to what my mother did. One moment she worked an assembly line and the next she was taking daily jobs as a maid. I can say that she tried, but the only constant was the government assistance that she collected every month. As a result, one of my biggest desires as an adult has been to pull my weight in the area of finance. I don’t aspire to be the breadwinner of the household, but I have to contribute toward my family’s needs.
It is unacceptable for me as an able-bodied individual of relative intelligence and skill to squander that and not be a contributing member to society and moreover, my family.
This mentality keeps me going as a financial contributor to the household and partner to my husband.
My child is my world. And much like I didn’t have a solid model of a mother making a steady living, I also did not have an example of what a healthy mother/daughter relationship looked like. I started my motherhood journey with no blueprint and after my daughter’s infancy stage, I ran into some issues. Part of it was that my child was strong willed and the other part was that I was afraid of crossing the line from discipline to abuse. She picked up on that lack of confidence and used it to try me, beyond the normal toddler-testing-boundaries phase. This continued for years before I got a handle on it and flipped the script on her. Once I believed in myself that I would not make the same mistakes that I had been subject to, I could confidently discipline her and set healthy boundaries for her without fear of damaging our relationship.
I listen to my daughter and take her feelings into consideration while also holding her to the understanding and respect of my position as her mother. She may not like it, but that changes nothing. I also set the example of self motivation for her by continuing to educate myself and always moving forward, never staying stagnant or becoming complacent in life.
The day that she looks back and realizes that I tried my hardest to raise her right, guide and direct her, and be there for her when she needs me, I will have been a successful mother.
My friends mean a great deal to me. My closest friends and I have been linked since middle school and high school respectively. Our bonds are unique and long-lasting. From our epic inside jokes and fun times, to the struggles we’ve endured, experiencing loss and depression — we have been through it all. I can only hope that I have and will continue to reciprocate the compassion and support that they have shown me all this time. If my friends can look back over our years of being connected and say that I have been a kind, considerate, and reliable friend, I will have been successful in this area.
A job is only as good as the people who work there. I’ve been blessed with amazing coworkers during my time in the workforce and I can only hope that my colleagues can say the same about me. Regardless of my tenure, position level or salary, if I contribute at all to the development of others, if I am regarded as a subject matter expert in a certain area, if I give others hope that they can achieve their goals, I will have done well. If I have influenced my colleagues and subordinates in a positive way, I will have been a successful coworker.
I will consider myself successful if my life’s work speaks for itself.
If, after I’m gone, someone can look at the sum of my life and see that I was a kind and discerning Christian woman, a devoted wife, a loving mother, a great friend, and a dedicated colleague, I will have been successful.
I hope these attributes make it into my eulogy.