Saturday, March 13, 2010

Measuring Success

I recently asked for comments on success and how to know when you are successful. The replies were interesting though somewhat predictable. Being able to say "Yes" to many things. A healthy and loving family with resources to take care of them and to give to others. Being blessed and realizing that all you have comes from a loving God.

I agree with each reply I received. However, I don't always have the same thought processes that others have. As I reflect over the meaning of success in terms of my life, I would have to say that the bar has been raised over time...always just beyond my grasp.

While others celebrated a report card sprinkled with 'A's, I was glad to receive the 'A' but never felt the need to celebrate something so easily attained. That said, a 'B' could easily send me into a tailspin.

Raised in a single bathroom home, I felt that a one-and-half bath home was surely a sign of fortune and success. By that measure, I am most certainly successful today with three full baths.

The wherewithal to stock those bathrooms with supplies adds a layer of success. I remember when we had to call for help in our most compromising situations. One had to yell loud enough to ask a family member to bring a partial roll of toilet paper from another bathroom before we could finish the paper work and be on our way. I have carried my toothbrush to another bathroom for a squirt of toothpaste.

No more. I now have 36 rolls of toilet paper and six tubes of toothpaste in the closet with 12 bars of soap, six deodorants and 10 rolls of paper towels. But am I successful?

I have gone through the sofa, chairs and car seats looking for enough change to go get a loaf of bread. No more. I have baskets and coin dishes all over the house literally overflowing with change. But now I need $20's. However, I can conveniently go to the bank and that neat little machine just spits out $20 bills.

I once thought driving a car that used more gas than oil would mean that I had achieved success. Now I drive the latest BMW. It never uses oil and gets great gas mileage.

The reason I need to define success is so I will recognize it if I ever meet it. Every time I set the bar and reach it, it just seems too easy. It is never a huge accomplishment. It was just the last in a series of small steps taken in the same direction that got me to where I am. Just one more small step. When I've reached the mountain top, I've seldom looked back to see the distance I've come. I only seem to see the next higher peak in the distance and set my sights on it.

I've heard that I am successful. I've been introduced as "a successful business woman." I think to myself, "Not yet. Maybe someday. I hope. Just let me get to the next level."

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