A long time ago I wrote a blog post where I used the word success and turned it into an acronym. I thought at the time I was super clever. Even then I was questioning the concept of success and how it seems to be an ever-moving target.
Clearly we need a ̶r̶e̶v̶o̶l̶u̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶ redefinition.
When we think of success, most of us picture images of big houses, beach vacations, mega money in the bank, long client waitlists, jet-setting to weekend brunches just because. But let’s be real: this dream isn’t sustainable for all of us. Someone needs to clean the bathroom, run the numbers, walk the dog, reply to the email, launch the program. And that requires employees or contractors.
The trouble is that we’re using an outdated patriarchal paradigm where there’s a hierarchy of success with the person making the most money at the top and the person making the least at the bottom.
So when we try to apply our own lives to this antiquated model, no wonder we don’t measure up. There is always going to be someone lying in a bathtub of money, leasing a private jet, showing the world that they’re the epitome of success.
But what if you want to pay your people more? That cuts into your profit margin.
What if you want to create a give-back program to share some of your surplus? That also decreases your buffer.
What if you don’t want to make mega bucks and instead want to build a life of ease and service? Well, now you’re being radical.
Since these choices don’t adhere to our society’s definition of success…does that mean you aren’t successful?
You’re doing things differently. That’s something I like about you.
So yes to that beach vacation but also, yes to paying your people well. Yes to sharing your surplus and also, yes to ease. Yes to a radical approach to business.
This takes a lot of personal unlearning. It’s so easy to self-shame when you’ve purposefully made choices to do business differently, when you’ve purposefully decided to dismantle the system.
It’s one thing to know that the system is antiquated and no longer relevant in our late stage capitalist world. That system was bullshit to begin with because it centered on profit from exploitation.
It’s a whole other thing to integrate it into your own business, believing in your own profit because money is one of the tools you’ll use to create a new world.
Don’t let someone else’s arbitrary markers of success define who you are, what you’ve done, or whether you’ve “made it” or not.
You define your success.