Redefining Success


What does success look like to you?

Do you picture yourself with a six-figure salary, expensive car and a 4-5 bedroom house? Or do you measure success by how much free time you have to pursue other interests outside of work, having enough money to travel and a work life balance?

I worked in London for a large well-known firm of accountants for 2 years. At the time I owned a 3 bedroom property with my ex-partner in a lovely area and close to a train station BUT our mortgage was astronomical.  When the recession of 2008-2009 hit I was made redundant and at the same time we split up. The house had to be sold at the worst time – during the housing market crash. Financially I was screwed. Luckily I was still in contact with my ex-boss and she happily offered me a position back at my old company which is where I still work now.

But as a women in her 30’s I feel like I should still be climbing the corporate ladder. I feel like it is expected of me. In fact, if I decided to leave my job and work in London again for a for-profit organisation I could easily earn another £20-£30k on top of my current salary. I would then spend 3 hours traveling a day compared to the 20mins worth of driving I currently do. I’d also no doubt take on even more responsibility than I do now. I’d be more stressed and more tired and likely frustrated with train delays and pushy passengers all in a rush to get to and from the office.  And all to spend more money on more things.  I’d have to give up my slow mornings and lengthy evenings at home which I love just so I’d have more money to spend.  Seems ridiculous to me.

I feel like I should be doing it all – a fast paced high earning career, happy relationship, daily yoga sessions, pop some babies out and eat kale every day for good measure. Oh and maybe learn coding too.

When did success start to mean running yourself into the ground, working long hours and filling up every available space in your calendar. When did saying I’ve been so busy become the normal response to a how are you. Some people seem so pleased with themselves when they say this and I can’t quite get my head round it.  I don’t like to be too busy.  I love weekends when I have no plans and I can wake up and decide what to do with my day on that day.

I want to redefine what success means to me after years and years of being brainwashed by…who knows – the media? Friends/family? Women’s magazines? I’m not sure who; maybe just myself.

To me success is not:

  • Owning the biggest house (and therefore likely having the biggest mortgage debt)
  • The newest flashiest car (car’s depreciate at such a rapid rate it’s like throwing money away)
  • Having the most responsibility at work or managing the most people
  • Earning the most money
  • Working the longest hours
  • Being the busiest
  • Eating kale and doing a 1.5hrs work out every day before you’ve even woken up properly whilst tweeting about it

To me success is going to be:

  • Having healthy and happy relationships with my husband, family & friends and spending time with them often
  • Working in a career I love and am passionate about no matter what the pay scale is
  • Having a balanced life – work/social/hobbies/travel

I’m not saying chasing a six-figure salary is wrong it’s just that I want to measure success by other means. It never made me happy or fulfilled. Actually my past jobs and huge mortgage made me live in fear – fear of losing everything or not being able to meet my commitments. I was over-stretched and stressed out. Being made redundant and subsequently losing it all was a huge wake up call to me.  As practising minimalism has been.

I’ve identified and redefined my core value’s and instead of living in fear of changing certain aspects of my life I’m slowly working towards changing them to live a more balanced and content life.

How do you define success? Do you define your success by your salary? The cost of the material items you own or by how much free time you have? I’d love to know. Please comment below.

23 thoughts on “Redefining Success

  1. ReVitellect says:

    Interesting article. Thank you for sharing your insight about life through your own experiences. Yes, unfortunately, in the material world we live in, success is often defined by how much money and power we have. Things like your happiness, contentment, fulfillment, the lives you touch, the stress-freedom you experience and such are not taken into consideration as much. The successful person is often just seen as an endless hustler.

    But behind all that success probably lies a lot of misery. Not for all, of course. But to manage so much would probably require a lot of your mental resources.

    Keeping that in mind, I tried to provide a different perspective on happiness, success and the “good life” by turning to one of the Ancient Greeks, Aristotle. Do have a look at the article and tell me whether you feel it has merit 🙂


    • reynoldsmade says:

      It’s hard when you feel like you are surrounded by people who define success that way. That’s why the blogging world is great as you can find like minded people. I will definitely have a read of the article thank you for sharing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • ReVitellect says:

        Exactly. I like the community here. ^_^ Yeah, the mainstream view kinda trickles down to you. But good thing we have others who feel similarly who we can relate with online and get support through. 🙂


  2. cherrylynneblog says:

    Agree, sometimes it is not just the money that an individual have if you are contented with the things around you specially your family and the simple life that you have. In real life we all need money to live of course to buy our needs but the end of the day it is how we view our own success..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. erickismyname says:

    I think this a great post.

    You really hit the nail on the head when you mentioned success for you is a balanced life. Thankfully, a lot of employers are realizing most people prefer work/life balance to high salaries and are becoming more accommodating.

    Success for me, is pretty much the same definition you used.I became an unintentional minimalist because much like yourself, I had a high paying career, etc. But lost it all. Now I make half of what I used to, but I’m two times happier!

    Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. theantishopper says:

    I gave up a high paying office job to go to hair school and be a stylist… best decision I ever made. 5 years later I’m making almost the same, but off 3 days a week and much less stress, and 100% better quality of life. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jamason123 says:

    Nice! success has changed so much for me over the past 10 years. Today success is practicing living and being present for all the things I love, and then practicing to really see the joy and love in all tasks (it’s all life). This is no easy task as I have many years of habits that I always work on.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. devisecreateconcoct says:

    Gosh I wish we lived closer so we could go grab a coffee and chat. I agree with everything you’ve said. Happiness is pretty high in the list for me and I find that living a more simple life brings me closer to it. I toyed with a higher level position at work that was offered to me, but like you, I didn’t think the extra money was worth it (and I’m a frugal girl even!lol). I would have been more stressed and asked to give more of my time. I would much rather spend that time doing things I love like blogging. Lol. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • reynoldsmade says:

      I’ve always thought happiness is the reason we’re all here in the first place. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to live that life myself. Me too! I could write all day every day to be honest and it makes it all the more sweeter getting to connect with you! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. jessicaconstable says:

    I made the leap last year to quit my well paying career track job and train to be a yoga teacher and travel. At 28, I felt it was the time, and I was stagnating in that job. So I put growth pretty high up the list. I’m looking at re-entering the corporate world soon, but in a way that continues to let me grow my own marketing business and yoga teaching on the side, and basically lets me stash cash to support future dreams. So aiming for some sort of balance but always a work in progress! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Jordan Palfrey says:

    I love this post because it all sounds so sadly familiar. Unfortunately, it seems like most of us are too busy to question why we do it, and the toll it takes. I think we do it because it’s expected of us: we get caught in the herd and find it hard to break out.

    Liked by 3 people

    • reynoldsmade says:

      I couldn’t agree more Jordan. I’m trying to live my life differently now and stop worrying about what is expected of me. It’s hard to change the habit but I’ve found writing about it and reading other people stories so motivating.


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