One of my favorite questions to ask a group of people is this: "If I tell you that I have a couple of apples here in this bag, how many would you say there are?" Seems simple enough, right? Just a quick question, met with a quick answer. Not as simple as one might imagine. You wouldn't believe the difference in opinions throughout the country. For me, its cut and dry. A couple is two. Always, no questions asked.
That answer is not the same for everyone, and what I have determined (after years of asking this very same question in a variety of ways), is that a couple means two to me. That is my definition based on my own experience. In reality, the word "couple" is extraordinarily vague to many people. It sits in a gray area, and is rarely agreed upon. To some it means 3. Others would say 3-5. Another would say "more than one." And many will argue their position with vehemence.
Imagine, then, the variety of answers to define the word "success." Talk about living in a gray area! Just thinking about the individual members of my family brings forth six, maybe seven different definitions. To some it means wealth. Others would say job title. Another would base it on the number of friends and acquaintances. Many will pass harsh judgment on not only your own personal definition, but also your position in life according to THEIR measurement.
Seems pretty unfair, doesn't it? To be defined and judged by someone else's opinion of what you should be doing? As we are all too well aware, however, that is the reality of society. Don't waste your time being angry with people who are "that way." Instead, spend your time determining exactly what your own perfect measurement of success is...for You.
The best way to combat another person's intense judgment of you and your life is to create a clear vision of your own personal success. In business we would call the short version of that vision a Mission Statement. The creation of the Statement generally takes a great deal of time and effort, many meetings and discussions, and a wordsmith to craft it all with some creativity. Either a mission statement or a personal definition of success both require you to be as selfish as you would like to be (selfish is not actually a bad thing, you know, despite the bad press it always gets) in order for you to come up with the most authentic version possible.
Once you are clear about what a successful day, week, month, year, life look like in the World of (insert your full name here), you can have the satisfaction of knowing that your path is sitting in front of you waiting to be traveled. And then you get to hop on board and follow it.
As you sit in your own little committee meeting determining your personal success potentials, keep a couple of things in mind. 1) Remember that it is multi-faceted...there are many components involved and they all intertwine. There is a way to put them all into a few meaningful and purposeful words/phrases that are all encompassing. It takes work and you are capable of that. 2) Block out everyone else's personal definitions. Certainly do not allow someone else to mandate or decree what you believe for yourself. You have a potential within that only you are aware of, it is your job to unlock it. It is your job to use it. And 3) know that when you have created your own perfect measurements, you will be subject to scrutiny just as you are now. The difference is this: you will have the confidence of believing in your own self. You will have your own measurement tool to utilize, and no one can take that away from you.
Perfect Crock Pot Chili
2 1/2 lbs of dices stew meat
8 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 (14 oz) cans chili beans
2 (14 oz) cans chili ready diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce
1 T cayenne pepper (or as much as you can handle)
2 t cumin
1 T chili powder
This creates the perfect scene for the end of the work day...dinner is already done. Before you head in to your office (school, store, boat...wherever you work), get a big frying pan out, dice up the bacon and start cooking it. Make sure the stew meat is cut the way you like it and fry it up right in there with the bacon. Plug in the crock pot and dump everything else in there. Set it for 7 hours on low and you are all set for a nice cozy, laid back evening!