What is your definition of success? I'm sitting here at my dining room table on a Saturday morning, alone, disconnected, and taking in the quiet all but for the ticking of our kitchen clock, the hum of the refrigerator and the sounds of the birds as they fly by my window.
I found myself in a flux of thought on a day that has no expectations of me, only what I create for myself. I have in my grasp a day of opportunity to step back and focus on the little things - the things are a benefit to what I have accomplished.
I have a life that I choose, more or less. A comfortable home, two of the most stunning young girls that I get to call mine, a husband who loves me the best way he knows how, and a business where I have the power to create as I will.
But like all things, there are layers that underneath hiding the chaos, but I am sure you can relate there. My home is not perfect, it needs daily attention to keep the grime and skunks (yes we have a couple of furry cuties that like to nest under our front step) at bay. Parenting pre-teen girls is a daily trial of patience and frustration in the same breath. My relationship with my husband doesn't fall into the happily ever after category, our ability to focus on each other is weighted down by balancing finances between wants and needs and differing perceptions and styles of parenting. And the business, well when you take on all the roles and responsibility of a business there is a guarantee that some of the work will be more arduous and stressful than engaging or enlightening. In fact, this article is simply procrastination from digging into my pile of bookkeeping that I should be catching up on in order to save my sanity this week.
And then here comes the rub, if I am honest with myself and shush the egoic mind, I am the epitome of success. By acknowledging my blessings along with my struggles, I find a true appreciation for my life.
My home isn't perfect. I see that it isn't about how clean it is or the condition - I have a home to call my own that I can raise my daughters is a gift. Yes, the bathroom is looking worse for wear, but is the stress of more debt worth the investment? Not unlike our bodies, a house is a shell that you fill from the inside out.
And yes, parenting is a complete shit show. But with each sign of frustration, my heart lights up because I have two stubborn, opinionated, strong young women that I get to help usher through what is honestly the hardest years for us all. I mean seriously, do you want to relive your teen-years? Hell's no! I have the privilege to comfort them when they are distraught, and they actually need me. Never mind the utter joy of seeing them when they smile and succeed when they don't need me!
Over the past fourteen years, I have seen my marriage evolve. We started out with the usual excitement and saw a period of comfort and routine, then an upheaval by bringing kids into the mix and now we have found ourselves on the same team, us against the teen-years. What we have now is unconditional support and love to rely on, each other. Being truly vulnerable to each other and respecting what we each bring to the table.
Which leads to how my educational and career paths led me to run my own show. I'd like to add a caveat here, I am the sole one responsible for my business, but I do not do it alone. Without the support of friends, family, peers and my clients, I would be that guy stranded on an island that has no impact on the world. So here is the thing, there is a benefit to being ultimately responsible for my business, it also means that I can claim it's successes.
My life purpose is a daily puzzle that I piece together. Aware of the lives my actions impact; those I love, and those I will never be lucky enough to meet. I am contributing a part of me, I own that my inner being matters because everyone's does. My actions prove that what I do each day matters. I have embraced accountability for my life choices. I risk being wrong, financial loss, and ultimately failure. I risk all this because sacrificing my soul is never worth a large pay-day.
So when I find myself in the midst of inner and outer chaos, I take a step back and make the intentional choice to be where I am in that moment. This type of affirmation gives me the courage and strength to keep moving forward. I have found we need be our own cheerleaders because everyone around us is also going through the same crapshoot we call life. Knowing this helps me own my choices as mine and I cheer others when I see them do the same.
I hope this small peek behind my internet curtain helps you to keep your Ms. Perfectionist in check and helps you to make progress. I mean if you have any perception that I am successful, then the same can be said of you too.