Defining success and failure

Spend some time thinking about how you define success and how you define failure. This was the homework given to me in my last therapy session. It sounds simple enough, right? Turns out I struggled coming up with a definition that was my own. I immediately began to run through a checklist of material possessions that equate success, the “American Dream starter kit.” This kit often includes the following: a college degree, a job, a house in the suburbs with a yard…in the “good” school district, a couple of cars, a couple of kids and maybe a pet or two. I pondered over this list realizing several items have been personal goals however achieving them did not make me feel successful. 

The truth is I had no idea what success looks like for me. On the other hand, when I thought about failure the answer was more clear. Failure feels like letting myself down, it is disappointing and makes me question my capabilities. Failure is the distance between what I hope to achieve, and where I am currently. I picture failure to look something like this:

Failure lives in the valley, between my current status and my dreams.

Being in the valley does not necessitate failure in and of itself. Staying there for an extended period of time does. Success on the other hand, I am still bleary on. I do know, success is personal and I do not believe it is a one time event. Success for me is more of journey, where I am living within my purpose, learning from my failures and accomplishing my goals along the way.

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