Define Your Own Success

Sarah Davis/In Her Shoes Foundation

Photo by Sarah Davis/In Her Shoes Foundation

To embrace your status as a woman, you must also learn to define your own success. This means not letting external pressures change who you fundamentally are or what you desire from life.

Success isn’t confined to one area of life. As you read through the following examples, ask yourself: In each of these areas, which path will bring me the most personal happiness?

Your Career

Whether your goal is to become CEO of a company or to be a nurturing mother to a family of five, pursue it with vigor.

Nobody’s career goal is superior to another despite what people may say and the imposed shame that tends to accompany either side: If I become a top executive and don’t have a family, people will think I’m a cold, lonely workaholic. Or even though my joy in life is being a mother, I feel like people judge me for not having a 9-to-5 job.

While these thoughts are hurtful and can sometimes be reinforced by others’ opinions, you have to recognize what career path makes you happy and ultimately be comfortable with that choice.

Your Love Life

There’s a tendency to be extremely defensive about one’s relationship status these days.

If you’re single, you may feel the need to explain you don’t actually want a boyfriend or girlfriend. If you’re in a relationship, you may feel pressure to defend your independence even though you enjoy the partnership. Stop explaining.

Whatever your preference is, embrace it. The people who criticize your love life are those who aren’t comfortable with their own and don’t deserve your justifications.

Your Lifestyle

If you’re not a social butterfly and don’t enjoy networking events, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail in the corporate world. Likewise, if you don’t enjoy spending your weekends alone reading books, it doesn’t mean you’re shallow or not self-aware.

Live the lifestyle you desire, and you’ll find that both happiness and success will find you in ways that are personally meaningful. Don’t let peer pressure or the expectations of others pigeonhole you into situations that make you miserable.

Figure out what makes you happy, and do it. Don’t pay attention to the haters, the critics and the doubters because, ultimately, they have zero say in your life. If you manage to stay true to yourself and relentlessly pursue what you want, consider that a resounding success.

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