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.