Defining Your Own Success

When I was 19 or 20 I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder, Bi-Polar 11 and Agoraphobia ( among other things. Now, at 35 I can not only walk by my open windows but I talk to and connect with strangers on a daily basis and even thrive on it.
I'm not sharing this with y'all for applause or recognition but to lend some credibility to what I'm going to say. I didn't just throw some opinions together to hear myself talk; I've been there, I've put this into practice and I live my life by it. I am constantly re-evaluating, defining and resizing my goals. I've learned that to not go backwards you have to be moving, which might sound silly but staying put can move you backwards too and that's a super slippery slope. 
When I first started writing this blog, it was from the viewpoint of being happy with mediocrity, but mediocrity has some dirty, negative connotations with it that I don't associate with my happiness or my life at all. I don't believe in settling. I've worked a long time, I've busted my ass to have the life I do and to be the person I am so I, personally feel successful. My successful self has a healthy work/life balance, most days, because that's where my priorities lie but it took a long time to figure out what that meant for ME.
Most often, when we hear the word Success in regards to our lives we think bigger and better. Bigger house, better car. We see other's accomplishments, especially as someone in customer service. When you're constantly surrounded by unending, limitless happiness and positivity it can be overwhelming; It can be hard NOT to compare yourself to external situations.
As human beings we get into the habit of projecting others' expectations onto ourselves. And it's almost never accurate, it's our perception of what we think others expect from us. It's hard not to when we're surrounded by AMAZING people for a minimum of 8 hours a day; Our communities are chock full of hustle and I have absolutely nothing against that. We've seen our own co-workers stories about the compromises and struggles they've gone through to be successful business people. Our friends have come close to losing marriages, houses and becoming bankrupt while putting in 100+ hours a week to MAKE their success. Kudos to them, first off.  I don't have that in me because it would take the small bit of sanity that I have left and my husband says I need that. However! Some people are wired this way, this is exactly what makes them happy… pushing themselves to get to the best version of themselves doing what they love, and wanting, almost needing to grow their businesses. They thrive on this stuff, it gets them excited down in their bones! There's nothing wrong with wanting bigger and better, but it has to be something you want for yourself. One has to really want to put in the hours, travel, research time and expenses. Busting your butt to be the manufacturer, photographer, model, boss, administrator all in one takes a very special kind of person. The satisfaction that comes with meeting and exceeding these types of goals is almost indescribable.
On the other side of the coin we have folks who are stoked to have one full time job, a couple of part time jobs whatever… that enables them to go on road trips, explore the world. People who work to live, for experiences. Often times this second bunch of people are seen as unmotivated or called bums because they live paycheque to paycheque, running off to explore some mountain or river every day off. But guess what, 100% these guys wouldn't have it any other way. They do what they have to do to get shit done so they CAN run off and sleep in a tree for a week or backpack their way across Europe or one of those other clichés. If you want to work just enough to go wherever you want as often as you can and really love what you're doing… why not?! Make the memories, meet the people, catch the fish. 
In the middle of those two groups is a large portion of people. People just like me. I have a husband, 4 kids, 2 cats and a dog. I work two jobs, actually. My Mom and I built a business from the ground up; A small brick and mortar store started from scratch. We've been open since the fall of 2015 and even though our business is steadily growing we don't have any desire or intention to expand. My goal? Create a profitable business that will be sought after when we decide to sell and move on to our next dream. I don't want to deal with staffing, the extra bookkeeping, WCB etc. That tiny amount of sanity I mentioned earlier? Yeah, it would be gone. I'm just a regular girl who likes regular stuff and regular kinds of days, I even thrive on routine… dare I say.
But just because I am not working to get the bigger and better doesn't mean I'm stagnant either. I am constantly working to make my business better (whether it's visible to the public or not), and I am constantly working to make myself better.  I should clarify here though, that when I say I am 'constantly working' on bettering my life it doesn't mean I'm always moving forward. Sometimes getting out of bed, working my shift and staying awake until a reasonable hour is work. I deal with depression, anxiety and just LIFE stuff on a daily basis. My kids can be draaaaiiining, Merchants can be trying (thankfully those are few and far between) but it does happen. The best thing you can do is deal with that stuff as it comes up and sometimes success can be more sideways or left to right. It doesn't have to be up or forward to matter. Successes don't have to be gigantic to be momentous.
So what I'm saying is that you have to do you. You can't rely on someone else's expectations to lead you to your happiness and you can't expect it to just plop into your lap. We have to work at defining what happiness means to ourselves and we have to work for it. And guess what? Nobody else gets to care what that looks like. You want a Q-tip Collection? Go for it! Does square dancing get you excited? Shit talk to me about it! Have nothing that you're super passionate about? Well alright, let's go for a walk and talk about brands of Toilet Paper. 
Money isn't everything, and neither is freedom to do what you want when you want to do it. Decide what YOU need to be happy and go for it. As long as you're not going backwards you're defining your own success

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