BY: Lisa Slagle
It's Sunday night, and I'm curled up on my couch with my Golden Retriever, tired and happy from a terrific weekend. The past few days were filled with friends, home-cooked meals, bikes, cold hands, and snow. Winter is my favorite, and the pre-season excitement this year is as strong as it has ever been. That ski bum inside my brain is getting louder, spinning off my thoughts and handplanting on my concentration. I think this is happening to most of the Flathead Valley right now.
I'm going to be completely candid right now-- it's hard to be an adult during times like these. I, like everyone else around here, would rather wax my snowboard and start searching for powder lines than sit in a confined space in front of a computer all day. I'll admit that, right here, in writing. But I love my job, and I love my clients, so the screen time is worth it. This annual battle between my inner ski bum and businesswoman has left me thinking a lot about the definition of success and why we do the things we do, like own businesses and work our faces off.
So... I'm gonna get all kinds of existential on you on this quiet Sunday night.
In Our Modern World, What Does It Mean to be Successful?
Weirdly enough, this is a conversation I have with my buddies all the time. Everybody is trying to figure this out.
What is success, and what does it look like to be successful these days?
I think both business owners and employees battle with this on the reg. It's a personal question with a personal answer, so I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you what I think, for what (if anything) that's worth:
I think success is all about experiences and people: getting to have experiences and people to share these experiences with.
And not being totally consumed with stress about money.
And giving back whenever and wherever you can.
To me, that's success.
There are little, experiential benchmarks of success, like having a job where I can snowboard for an hour or two in the morning and work later in the evening, successfully making a non-burnt dinner for a dude, or being able to wake up next to the ocean at least a few times per year. Oh man, or enjoying the luxury of going home to spend time with my family and best friends. I try to give back, too, like teaching at our community college or giving away professional design tips because I believe in the power of sharing knowledge. I work on these things constantly, and they are important to me.
There are little, financial benchmarks of success, too, like having enough money to buy an old snowmobile, belonging to a gym, or getting my Golden Retriever a memory foam dog bed for his 9th birthday. It's also nice to be able to buy new contacts for my eyeballs or go see a doctor when I crash my mountain bike yet again. These are small measures of financial achievement that show me that I'm making steps toward success.
These experiential and financial benchmarks aren't particularly dignified, fancy, or noteworthy. To me, these are small gestures of not being a total ski bum, and instead finding success and happiness as a businesswoman who showers and even remembers to shave both legs and then goes out and works as hard as possible to design quality products.
My clients are worth hard work, and their success reflects my success as a designer.
The smartest bartender in Whitefish pointed out that overcoming adversity makes success feel even sweeter, and I agree. (That's the whole basis of The Karate Kid, and why we want Daniel to win so badly.) Overcome your daily challenges, whether big or small, and success will feel even better when you achieve it. That's a good nugget of wisdom for the modern entrepreneur.
I challenge you to take the time to decide what success means to you.
Are you a successful entrepreneur?
Are you a successful boss?
Is your brand successful and clear?
Are you successful in relationships with the people you care about the most?
Do you feel balanced and happy?
The answers to these questions are automatically reflected in your business and your brand.
Are you satisfied with the outcome?
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