dismantling success

In 2014 I left my job at a marketing agency to work on reception at a yoga studio while I tried to build up my teaching.
When I left I gave up a steady monthly income, the regular recognition I was getting from my managers and the opportunity for further promotions and pay rises if I continued to progress as I was.
Even though in my heart I knew I was doing the right thing I did struggle with the feeling that I was taking a massive step down what I saw as the ladder of success.
I developed a success guilt.

I questioned whether I was doing my potential justice?

I wondered whether people thought i'd done the wrong thing.

It eventually dawned on me that I was measuring my success using someone else’s definition of it.
Taking a step back I could see that the notion I had of success was wrapped up in money, getting promoted and owning particular things.
I needed to do some dismantling to redefine success so that it made sense to me on a personal level.
Thinking about what success looked like on a day-to-day basis really helped with this.

I asked myself who did I want to see regularly, how did I want to feel when I woke up and looked ahead at my day and what did I want to have time for.
This more micro level approach showed me that success for me is in the smaller things. 

That success is quality over quantity.
Now I gauge my success on the quality of the relationships that I have with people, not feeling anxious on a Sunday about the week ahead, whether I’m inspired by the work that I’m doing and if I can support myself doing this kind of work, what percentage of the time I feel stressed. 
For me it includes things like enjoying a coffee every morning as I write my morning pages, going for a swim during off-peak hours and being able to make a healthy lunch at home in my kitchen every day.
Defining your own success is empowering, something that I think we all have the right to do.

Yes curve balls come our way that we have no control over but in so many ways we have the power to curate our lives based on what is important to us and thinking about personal success is a really good place to start.
So here’s to not feeling guilty about swimming with pensioners and catching up on 24 hours in A&E while I eat my lunch on a Tuesday. 

More than not feeling guilty, here’s to consciously celebrating these little things as great successes.