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How do you measure success?  I heard this question a couple of days ago and couldn’t stop thinking about it.  Aren’t we all striving for success in some fashion or another?  Isn’t it what drives us every day to do something or be something we’ve never been before? Or maybe for some people success is just being alive another day. Whatever it is, it’s definitely different for everyone, and we measure it by our own individual metrics.

One thing I’ve come to realize, after years of chasing the approval of people as a way of measuring success (be them corporate managers, personal friends, acquaintances, or others), is that whatever short term ‘success’ that may have seemed to be gained from their approval, fades away quickly. Leaving me disappointed, feeling like a failure, and not successful. The good thing I’ve come to realize is that if I stop looking to external sources to measure my success, and start looking internally, there are a lot of successes to celebrate and be proud of.  Successes like completing college, paying off college, having the courage to move thousands of miles away from family, friends, and everything familiar, by myself, to make a new life; saving and purchasing a home; getting out of debt; getting married; staying active and healthy; etc. The list is different for everyone, but the message is the same.  Recognizing our worth professionally and personally and the unique strengths we bring to the table is what it’s about. Success isn’t about what someone else thinks about you, it’s what you think about yourself.

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Failures in life are described in surfing terms as wipeouts.  You catch your wave, you’re cruising along, feeling confident, and things seem to be going well. Then something happens. An issue comes up with a family member, something happens at work, or you made a decision that didn’t work out the way you had planned. Often times when this happens the word failure (wipeout) comes to mind. We all have failures of some sort or another throughout our lives. If we don’t learn from them, there is a good chance we’ll repeat them. It’s natural to beat ourselves up when we make mistakes. But instead of beating ourselves up, what if we looked at them as a new skill.  Successful people will tell you they’ve failed many times. The difference is they view failures as lessons they’ve learned which helped propel them forward.

Famous surfer, Laird Hamilton, puts it best this way, “Wiping out is an under appreciated skill.”
Wipeout

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Art by Christine (Parrish) Barker. © Christine Barker. All rights reserved.

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© Christine (Parrish) Barker and Your Ultimate Life Vision 2017. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christine (Parrish) Barker and Your Ultimate Life Vision with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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