Clara Tan Photography
A big part of when I first started this website was to focus on helping others feel empowered to find their own journeys to success, hence the name of the website, but over five years the word success has began to grow and develop on me.
It wasn’t always when I thought of success as one’s purpose or fulfillment of a meaningful goal. I used to believe it was fame, fortune, or what “everyone wanted in life.” I thought it was winning awards, competitions, achieving other people’s compliments etc. But I realized that success was a lot more meaningful than that. Success is determined by growth; It’s founded upon one’s willingness to try new things and ultimately grow. Maybe for me right now it’s to be able to get out of bed without wincing from surgical pain or it’s to walk for more than thirty minutes without my back cramping up or it’s to be able to breathe deeply without any pain. Before, these things might not have meant anything for me. Those were things I did without blinking an eye; Things I took for granted.
But those are now things that I will consider a success if I’m able to achieve them. I’ll stack small little goals throughout this recovery and work to achieve them. Slowly but surely I will succeed.
The other thing I want you to know about success is that it doesn’t need to be determined by other people’s measures. Honestly, some people might laugh at my definition of success. Haha she’s hilarious, she thinks that being able to breathe properly is an achievement? Everybody does that! Well it’s okay if you achieve what everyone else thinks is normal or not important. It should be important to you however. Everyone is in a different place in life with a different body with different limits and with different potentials. What you think is incredibly easy is so damn difficult for someone else and it definitely took me a while to learn that. From wanting to run a half marathon and running everyday only less than two months ago, I am now only wanting to be able to speed walk. And it will need to be enough for me right now 🙂
The last thing about success is that sometimes if we aren’t focusing on it for the right reasons it can be toxic. What I mean by that is that if we are looking for fame, fortune, or achieving other people’s approval then we might be able to burn out. And that’s exactly what happened to me. It’s hard to admit that sometimes but I let people define who I was by letting their opinions getting a hold of me. In senior year I became Student Council President and that was something I could have only imagined to have had happened. But the many years prior starting from Gr.8, I had wanted to join Student Council and run for grade rep. Each time, my friends and others would tell me I didn’t have what it takes because it was a popularity contest and by the looks of me, I was definitely not. Being receptive of other’s opinions I retracted my application for three years in a row because of what others had thought of my potential. In the last two years of high school I took chances because I began to look for the only validation I needed: from within and from those that mattered. But to be completely honest, a part of the driving factor in the last two years was not the willingness to lead but to prove them wrong. I think the “wanting to prove them wrong” mentality helped me achieve my goals but I don’t think it was mentally healthy for me. It caused stress and discomfort because secretly I needed other people’s opinions to validate who I am. But no more! Don’t let your goals poison who you are! If you’re working hard to the point you’re missing meals and not being healthy then stop! Okay I don’t know about athletes but what I’m saying is to always put yourself first (not selfishly) but to look after your health.
If your goals end up coming before your health, your lifestyle, or your relationships, start to ask what the real reason you’re doing it for? Is it for you or is for fame, fortune, or temporary approval by others?