How do you measure success?
It is a question that I have been sorting through of late. I find that when my spiritual compass is working well; I can slow my “Kathryness” and see the patterns in my life. My questions currently seem to be tied to my year of “Retreat”.
I have found a new level to my reading and the depths of that discovery have brought some unusual insights. I seem to delve into ideas, conversations that have caused me to question. Questions, I haven't before taken the time to consider. These questions have pushed me into journaling; something I have never really wanted to do; but as part of this discovery, I have taken on in earnest.
I found the same question kept following me. Gnawing at me for answers. One question in particular:
What does success mean for me?
Having lost my foothold in the professional world, Sheryl Sandberg would say I “leaned out”. And while I watch so many of my close friends lean back in, I see that I have taken a different course; which leaning out doesn't completely cover. I haven't exactly leaned out; I’m off the grid and that feels far more uncomfortable.
I feel so unbelievable uncomfortable and unsettled.
As humans, we don't like uncomfortable, we don't like extremes, and lord knows we don't like messy. In our relationships, personal and professional, we want things to just nicely hum along.
But that Pilgrims, sorry to be the one to let you in on this news flash... That’s not how it works in this world. Nope, it’s messy here, no getting round it. So that is where I am today, in the messy and uncomfortable place of seeking and carving out my definition of success.
Jeffrey and I sat down this weekend to have the big picture conversation, how are things, where are we going; and I explained my discomfort about this question. I explained I was feeling a little lost. Lost only in that; I was not sure what success looked like any longer. That so many of my old ideas have been turned upside down since my health status changed. That this writing thing; this PilgrimageGal had taken on a life of its own that, to be blunt was so unexpected.
We went on to discuss what I like to call the “American Dream Model” that if you work hard-enough, financial and social success is yours. So it would make sense to call that success, because that is easy to measure and it is the scale so many of us use. And to be frank in my past life, I was really good at it, I had corporate jobs, made money, got accolades. Was the “it” girl.
Perhaps, thats exactly why I'm so uncomfortable. I look at myself and say, I need to do more, get more, publish more, have more followers, page hits, make more money... Because that is the paradigm that is familiar and comfortable.
After listening to all my rambling, hand waving, and foolishness; my sweet husband opened his mouth and said, “Maybe that is the wrong definition.”
So there I sat. Thinking. More like hearing crickets. Because I knew in my heart he was so right, so on target. When the person you love speaks a truth to you, sometimes all you can do is sit and wait for your heart to answer.
Because my definition of success isn’t the American Dream Model. My new goal may in fact be to touch more, connect more, and support others on their journey to find peace, and wellness in what ever form that means to them. To be an example that even with chronic disease, life is beautiful, meaningful and complete. That when we make room for the Divine, in our daily life; we live more fully, more completely than ever before.
What if success was measured by your ability to see your faith life grow in your choices, in your relationships, in your willingness to do good. My health will never allow me the opportunity to have the career I once had. And that is so fine, because I think the work that is guiding me in my brokenness, may in fact be far more important.
So, as I continue my year of Retreat, I will be searching for more definitions of success, how to measure the unmeasurable, perhaps...
But, having a wonderful time trying in the process.
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