I have been repeatedly informed that one's thirties are the most productive decade of life. As a woman entering this period, I am eager to refine my road map for success. I use the term "road map," as I think it is essential to remain flexible and continually redefine success along one's journey. The definition is likely to change as we evolve and it is critical to check in and re-assess that the goals we set for ourselves are ones we truly aspire to. It is perhaps even more crucial to seek out the experience and advice of other women who have crossed this path before us -- women who are open to sharing their journey and the tools that enabled them to build road maps for personal and professional fulfillment.
In the beginning of my career as a public health professional, success entailed seizing opportunities to transform the health of communities at the expense of competitive compensation and career advancement. As I have matured, I have expanded my definition of success to include the ability to support my own health and well-being. Throughout my life, my mother has inspired and motivated me to persevere in the face of obstacles and instilled the belief in me that absolutely nothing is impossible to overcome with sheer sweat and determination. She moved to the United States speaking hardly a word of English, leaving behind a gratifying career teaching Russian literature. As countless New Yorkers before her, she started from scratch to build opportunities for her children. It was a brave choice that internalized a deep belief that success was unattainable without heavy labor. My mother valued intellectual pursuits and professional fulfillment and this became my initial definition of success; the ability to apply my intellect to help others and take pride in my work.
It took years for me to realize that while I was successfully advocating for others, I had failed to advocate for my own professional growth. Gradually, I began readjusting my goals according to my needs and aspirations to include metrics that I had previously neglected. My expectation is that most women in the room this Thursday will be searching for balance between professional, personal and spiritual fulfillment. That is the state of my current search and I am eager to learn how women I admire dare to redefine success and to absorb their advice on mastering this delicate balancing act.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power" which will take place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.