Success is a really tricky thing. For the most part, the pursuit of success and the fear surrounding lack thereof have been the big driving force in my life since I can remember, but especially since college. Success in career, in relationships, and even in lifestyle are my biggest desires and, honestly, probably yours as well even though it might manifest itself in different ways.
All of the super motivated and smart girls I know struggle quite a bit with the concept of what it means to be successful. We did well in school, always had big dreams, and tended to appeal to our teachers to get ahead. That formula often works well when you're growing up but it can be challenging to enter the 'real world' after college because there is a glaring lack of structure. You're no longer taking tests or receiving grades, so how are you supposed to know if you're doing well or if you are 'successful'?
I certainly don't know all the answers but I ruminate on this a lot and, thus, read others' thoughts on the topic to try to parse the meaning of 'success' and how to achieve it. What have I found so far? That, like Sophia Amoruso said in the quote I shared above, success really is a journey and not a destination. Success is momentum. As long as you are working toward something and always moving forward, you should feel successful.
Another quote I loved was something Christine Andrew shared on Instagram. I'm not sure where she read this quote but it has really stuck with me: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing you will be successful in whatever you do."
So, yeah. This is a big topic. It really requires a lot of thought and soul searching with regards to what your idea of success looks like. Really, coming to a conclusion about it probably takes a lifetime.
But, there are definitely some little ways you can feel successful in your everyday life while you tackle the big picture issues and I'm sharing five with you today!
It's funny. The photos in this post are quite apt to the topic because they are such a visual representation of me living out my dream. They were taken at this spot in Soho by the restaurant La Esquina and the big YSL ad. This is a spot that, no matter how jaded I get by New York, always stuns me and reminds me how crazy it is that I live here right now. I obviously have a lot of things I want to accomplish and can definitely experience a lot of fear of those things, but ultimately I'm proud that, by 25, I've accomplished some really big things. You can honestly do anything you put your mind to!
Here are six ways to feel successful no matter where you are in life:
listen to podcasts
I'm a huge podcast fan. I listen to hours of audio per week while I'm getting ready, commuting, and doing certain tedious projects at work. They're such a good way to not only be entertained but to improve just about every aspect of your life. I suggest spending at least a half hour each day listening to a podcast on a topic that will improve your success. Some ideas are Goal Digger, Freakonomics, Super Soul Conversations, Don't Keep Your Day Job, and Money Girl.
I'm always asked how I manage to read so many books each year and the honest truth is just that I enjoy reading and prioritize it. Set a goal that works with your lifestyle. It could be to read for an hour every night before bed, but I think the simplest goal is to read at least one chapter every night. Most likely, you'll end up reading more. Plus, it doesn't have to be a non-fiction, career-oriented book. Reading fiction is just as beneficial!
schedule organization days
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with upkeep tasks as an adult, so I recommend scheduling a few days per month to be dedicated to organization. Spend these days cleaning up your phone and computer, checking items off your to-do list, and keeping track of your finances. Plus, you can make it fun by listening to music, watching movies in the background, or ordering a pizza from your favorite local place.
make time for quality rest + relaxation
The glorification of being busy in modern life is so real. Important as it is to be a go-getter and to live your life to the fullest, it's equally important to give yourself time to recharge. Be sure to spend a weekend every so often doing nothing but watching Netflix and chilling at home.
honor your accomplishments
If you're anything like me, you achieve something you've been working towards and immediately, you're on to the next struggle without ever acknowledging the fact that you just achieved something you badly wanted. This mindset makes it really hard to ever feel successful, so it's vital to celebrate the things you achieve. An easy way to do this is by journaling or by making then reviewing a reverse bucket list (where you write down cool things you've done rather than cool things you want to do).
plan for future goals
Success is momentum. It may seem like 'success' is the state you're in when you achieve your goals, but it's actually the state you're in when you are working toward them. If you make a point to always be planning your next move and setting new goals, then you already are successful.
What goals are you working toward right now? Do you feel successful at this point in your life? What does success even mean to you? I'm curious to know!