Who Defines Your Success?



So I started this thing on IG this week – grouping my posts into themes so that there’s a consistent trend of thought every week. I’m going to wrap up each week with a post on my blog. Explain why I posted such and such, get your thoughts on my thoughts – because what you think is so important to me.

It was an emotionally crazy week for me. I never made it to the top 100. I skimmed the bottom at 170 and didn’t recover from there. Mind you, I’m not being a brat about this. When you self-publish a book, all expenses are on you. Facebook ads, I had 2 very expensive trips going, gift cards, free books.  Somehow I thought that all those incentives plus a book at 99 CENTS would help to get the story in people’s hands.

 My friends had mixed reactions –

“WTF. You are number 4. What is wrong with you?”

“It’s just a hobby, don’t worry about it too much.”

“Oh. Well, I know you. You want to be number 1 in everything you do. I get it. You gave 100% of yourself. That’s why you’re you. You’re a perfectionist.”

I have since then mixed and mushed all those thoughts together and am moving on. Because the more driven you are, the more obsessed you become, the harder you work and the harder you fall. I get it now. Every reader is different and every book resonates differently depending on timing. A reader will identify with your characters if he/she is experiencing the same thing. A reader will think your story is the dumbest thing ever if he/she has never experienced the same thing.

So, what is success? How do you measure your success, whether it be as a full time mom, a career woman, a writer, a friend or even just as an individual? Do you let others define it for you? Do you constantly beat yourself up and wished you could be doing more, saying more, accomplishing more? To me, there’s nothing wrong with that – this is your motivating factor, your will to do the best that you can no matter what the task. There will always be failures – both real and perceived. Like when your oldest son does something so out of character and you beat yourself up and say, “maybe I wasn’t a good enough mother.” That’s just a bunch of BS. You are a good mother, and your son just made a mistake. Adults do that all the time. That’s the beauty of being alive, of being human. Sometimes, we allow our weaker points to win.

Success is a guarantee when you do your best.

To me, it is found in your everyday interactions with people. With those who love you, those whom you love. Yes, sometimes it involves a title, a position, more money, more influence. But it’s how you use that title, that influence, that money that matters. Your success is in the love of your friends, in the laughter that you share with others. It’s in your sex life, in your love life.

It’s in breaking barriers between common beliefs and what you stand for.

What defines you as a person is what determines your success. But most importantly, you define it yourself. No one else does. Not DNFs or bad reviews and most certainly not book sales.  You are successful because at the end of each day, when you lay your head on your pillow before you go to sleep, you know you’ve done your best to make an impact on the universe.