“Success is what you make of it.”
I penned these words for my high school graduation ceremony, not realizing they would be a helpful reminder for years to come. I remember wanting to inspire my fellow classmates to work hard, but not to get caught up in everyone else’s idea of success. Somewhere along the way, though, I failed to take my own advice. Somewhere along the way I’ve let other’s opinions envelope my perception of myself. Somewhere along the way I’ve been running after a success that actually wasn’t God’s best for me.
Have you ever felt that way?
As young professionals, it’s easy to get caught up in achieving, accomplishing and creating this “perfect” life. We want to succeed to our highest potential and while goals are good, they can sometimes become idols in our lives. What starts out as a dose of healthy personal competition can easily morph into a cycle of constantly achieving. Sooner than later, it starts to seep into every area of life – your relationships, career, friendships, spiritual practice, health and hobbies. I don’t know about you, but chasing perfection is exhausting. And never satisfying. And doesn’t leave much room for grace, surrender or stillness.
Guilty as charged.
But recently, as soon as I feel my Type A-ness well up, I try to bring myself back to those wiser, fresh-faced words. I’m reminded that success can come in many forms and it doesn’t have to look like a job on Wall Street, a massive bank account or a zillion stamps in your passport. It can come by way of the small things – the impromptu celebration of a friend passing a test, the phone call with your grandmother or just the courage to change your career path, even if it’s a bit risky. It can also be in setting aside time to rest, going on a walk instead of a run or taking a personal day. It’s inviting the one who holds your future into those dark pockets of insecurity, instead of clenching tight to your own flawed pride.
At the end of the day, success is what you make of it.
This article was first written for Cru, and can be found here.