10 March 2012

What "Sucess" Means to Me

I've seen lots of definitions of success, and the ones that I feel most comfortable with are those that talk about success being a result of doing things for others, of doing things that one really feels called to do, of taking risks and doing the best one can do no matter what the outcome.  As a teacher, I feel a great sense of success when I see a student (or two, even!) "get it," and suddenly realize something very important.  I feel successful when I see a student's writing improve over the course of the year to a point at which the writing is quite good and the student's confidence in his or her writing is very high.

I'm not at all attracted to a type of success that would gain me fame and fortune.  While there are certain advantages to both fame and fortune, I don't feel called in that direction at all.  I feel a calling to work one-on-one with people to help them reach inside and find the talent, the ability, the skills that have been buried for so long.  And when I see that happen, I feel very successful.

The most successful people I've known in life have been those who have followed their callings, their gifts, and have done what their hearts guide them to do.  These people aren't in the news or on the covers of magazines, but they're held dearly in the hearts of people who love them and who appreciate all that they've done for them.  And on the day I day, whether that be tomorrow or forty years from now, I want to look back on my life and feel that I've used my God-given gifts to contribute to the lives of others in ways that have been truly unique to me.

My success doesn't depend upon recognition or reward.  It doesn't depend on financial gain or material wealth.  My success comes as the result of giving all that I can give to people who have need of what I can offer, and doing so without thinking of rewards or recompense.  Because if success is to be the result of giving, then shouldn't that giving be unconditional?

Most people see success as being rich and famous or powerful and influential.  Others see it as being at the top of their profession and standing out from the rest.  The wise see success in a more personal way; they see it as achieving the goals they have set for themselves, and then feeling pride and satisfaction in their accomplishments.  True success is felt in the heart, not measured by money and power.  So be true to yourself and achieve those goals you set.  For success is reaching those goals and feeling proud of what you have accomplished.

Tim Tweedie

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