My very first article for The Huffington Post about a year ago was about redefining success. Just one year later, I have redefined success for myself in the most amazing and powerful way I could imagine.
I quit my job, sold all my stuff, and moved to the beach to write lots of book and run my two thriving businesses full-time.
When I made the decision to take the leap many words came to mind; scary, exciting, enthralling, crazy, and hopeful topped the list. I found myself second guessing my decision on a daily basis, but now that it's done, I haven't looked back.
When people would tell me how jealous they were of my decision or would remark how they could "never do that," my response was always the same...
"There are very few times in your life when you get to live your life exactly the way you want to live it."
I spent 10 years at my last job. I loved my job, the work, and the people, but it was a stressful job that toward the end left me feeling burned out, stressed out, and unfulfilled. At some point in my career I finally advanced to the director level with the swanky office. For many years the title and the office symbolized a level of success in my mind.
My definition of success has shifted. Now, any day that falls below an 8 on the happiness meter is a bad day! I no longer measure how many reports I got done in a day, but how many times I smiled, or, more importantly, now many times I helped other people smile.
I measure success, not in tasks checked off a to-do list, but in people that I've helped. I've learned that I'm most successful when I've helped someone else be successful. No paycheck, benefits, or corner office can compete with the feeling I get by doing work that serves others.
I certainly don't want to paint a picture that taking such a big leap was without some worry and stress. Certainly, leaving my financially-stable "day job" was a huge deal for me, but as scary as it was, it's by far the best decision I've ever made.
Maybe your dream isn't to sell all your stuff, move to the beach, and write books, but surely you have some dreams of your own. My best advice...do more of what makes you happy. Find the things that you're passionate about, the things that make you jump out of bed in the morning and do more of those things! Spend time working on what you love and what excites you. Don't allow your work life to become your whole life and don't forget about what makes you feel alive.
When I had the opportunity to live my life on my terms I felt like there was no other option than to take that opportunity and run with it. It was one of those moments when I knew that the pain of regret would be worse than any other pain that could come from such a monumental change in my life.
When you get those opportunities, please consider taking them. If it's true that orange is the new black, and 40 is the new 30, then I believe that happy is the new successful; act accordingly!