A friend and I sat in a row house restaurant in University City, Philadelphia a few weeks ago and talked about how we measure success. I haven’t stopped thinking about the subject, and the conversation left me pondering my very own definition. I remember my childhood and success at the time was defined by having an LL Bean backpack and not having to study for tests in school. In my late teens, with no hope of attending college, I defined success as having my own TV, a bit of food in my fridge and friends to hang out with after work at Burger King. During my early 20’s I actually started to define what I thought success was…. my bosses Mercedes, fancy clothes, expensive watches, an important job and a nice house. During my mid-20’s, I rode the success train, climbed the corporate ladder and reached my defined success, but I always found myself wanting more.
Today, I now know that success has absolutely nothing to do with your job title, a fancy car, big house, big yard but indeed it has everything to do with relationships.
Last fall when I visited El Salvador I experienced tremendous poverty. Even with no bathrooms, little food, and little shelter these families had glowing smiles and strong relationships with one another. Most people would feel sorry for them, but I felt envious of their contentment and happiness.
When we bought a travel trailer and starting camping this spring, I began to feel the true feeling of success. Being with my wonderful husband, four kids and two dogs in a camper in the woods fulfilled any desire for more. Our family sharing the last bit of hot water, cooking over the camp fire and laughing with friends and family has shown me first hand that I don’t need any of the things that I have, except the relationships that I foster and adore every day. I am only measured by the people I choose to surround myself with and the love I choose to give in every relationship. I feel successful.