Be happy now.
As our social space is filled with the sounds of ‘Happy New Year’ I have been taking the time to reflect upon the many joys and successes of 2013.
I enjoy this time of year. I take the time to set an agenda for the year ahead and consider a new set of dreams. I do believe in resolutions and the New Year is such a fitting time to make them. I like to think of them as dreams. Dream big I say! There is something about the 1st of the 1st of each year that enables us to wipe our slates completely clean if need be or perhaps just wipe a few things away. Either way it is a beautiful time to sit, contemplate and dream a few new dreams.
Resolutions are often goals we set as personal markers of success. But what really is success? Is it being able to say at the end of each year ‘Yes, I have achieved those dreams’? Perhaps it is. I am not so sure. I sense success is very different for each and every one of us.
In our modern world success is often represented or perhaps even measured by tangible things, those physical markers of financial success- a beautiful home, a nice job or perhaps a fancy car. I sense we often use such tangible items as markers of success as they are so very easy to measure without too much thought. They enable us to quickly sort the world in front of us and perhaps even brand ourselves for the world around us.
Over the Christmas break, aside from days spent at the beach with my lovely husband and daughter I have enjoyed reading the book ‘Life in half a second- How to achieve success before it is too late’ by Matthew Michalewicz. When I first opened this book before Christmas I had to put it down as my hands were shaking. Matthew’s first chapter- The Countdown– resonated with me in such a way I was almost scared to keep reading.
The chapter begins with an ominous quote- “Life is short and death is long- Fritz Shoulder”. How right that is. The idea that we are only here on earth for what is ½ a second in the total existence of the universe is both a very grounding and yet quite terrifying notion.
On success, Matthew simply says “Success is not defined by thinking big or small, or aiming high or low. Success is defined by what you aim for- by what goals you set. If you think big, aim high and set large goals, then your success will be large. If you think small, aim low and set small goals then your success will be small. But in either case it’s still success.”
Success I sense is defined very differently by each and every one of us. I don’t believe that I could consider myself ‘successful’ if I was damaging all around me to achieve my dreams. Success for me is as much about the path of getting there as the outcome.
As I have been contemplating what has made 2013 a success for me I have realised it has very little to do with tangible markers and so much more to do with the intangible.
Lately I have been harassing almost anyone I know to answer a question for me- ‘When you are done and gone from this earth what do you want to be known for?’ It is one of those questions that, for me, puts my life very clearly into perspective.
Think about it- it will be those couple of words on your grave stone- what do you want them to be?
When I asked my husband what he wanted to be known for he looked and me oddly and then said “I don’t want to change the world but I am happy to help you do it!”
This one took me by surprise! I could not imagine not wanting to be known for something. But of course, we are not all the same. We don’t all share the same markers of success. We all have our own success story.
My success story for 2014 will be marked by the intangible and not the tangible. The goals have been set and will be measured but not by those obvious markers that sometimes I think we get too caught up chasing.
What do I want to be known for- making some small but good difference in the world in everything I do- being a great mother and wife, helping divorcing families, creating great lawyers, being a good friend, a great daughter and of course changing the way our family lawyers practice family law.
And I hope those couple of words might read something like “She made her own little mark of success in everything she touched”. Happy 2014.