Sunday, November 30, 2014

Maya Angelou Sums Up "Success" Quite Well

I wrapped my frilly apron around my waist at about 10 this morning. Time. To. Bake. Typically, on Sundays, I don't start baking until the evening hours and I go straight through the overnight. However, we've got a lot of biscuit love going out this week. So there I was. Mixing. Rolling. Baking. My coffee cup was smeared with peanut butter oil within a half hour.

At about 2 in the afternoon, my tummy started grumbling. I grabbed a handful of pretzels, my vegan herb dill dip, freshened up my coffee and sat down at my desk. While crunching away, I organized my notes, planned out the week, and glanced at my calendar.

Wow. Shit. Tomorrow is December 1st. 

The first thing that came to mind was that today marked the end of a 1 year work relationship with a client of mine. The second thought to flood my brain...well, we won't go there. Despite my personal opinions about this "almost" former 1 year adventure, I am a professional and maintain a level of tact. With that being said, the only thing keeping me from classifying this year-long relationship as a "if I knew then what I know now...." is that I believe most things happen for a reason.

Maybe, in time, that will become apparent, but for now, I'll chalk it up as a learning experience.

Right around the same time that I officially started this new "job" last year, I was counting down the days until I turned the big 40. This was something I had done all year, but I was down to single digit days. There I was on the verge of turning 40 and I was embarking on a new "job" with an overzealous and slightly well known entrepreneur. A few other things had fallen into place. A decade was ending and a new one beginning. I threw all of these pieces into my "bucket" and swung it back and forth while skipping down my proverbial road of success.

Although humble, it was a very proud moment for me and cause to celebrate.

And this would be a suitable time to say, "It's amazing how a year changes a person" because when I look back, I realize that I allowed a client, contract and job to define me. Hitting the big 40 turned out to be quite monumental. Sadly, for all the wrong reasons, but I didn't know that a year ago. I was at the peak (or so I thought) of my career. I was working for a prominent start up and also had a couple of part time gigs on the side. In my world, that means one thing...maxed out. Three jobs totaling over 100 hours a week.

As the months rolled on, four to be exact, and well into the waters of turning 40, things just happened. A shift of sorts. Transformation. And with that, there was clarity. I had it all backwards. Landing the job didn't define me. My name being tossed around in conversation amid seasoned entrepreneurs meant nothing. Listening to someone, who lives over 1500 miles away, blow smoke up my ass promise me a rose garden shouldn't have been a motivating factor to work more hours and push, push, push. None of that was indicative to what was ahead. The here and now. Little by little everything unfolded. Fell into place. Made sense.

I interpret the term success much differently today than I did a year ago. Success has nothing to do with money or the amount of wealthy heavy hitters sitting in the audience. The further away I distanced myself from that, I was able to see just how ridiculous it all is. I fell for the song and dance. When all was said and done, there was no consideration given to my time, efforts, dedication or the tribulations I had encountered after I had backed a startup company that was clearly doomed once their smoke and mirrors charade cleared. I had come to my senses.

Maya Angelou says it best..."Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it." A year ago, I probably wouldn't have agreed with that. Today, and moving forth, I do. I'm smarter, wiser and my perception of what success truly is has completely shifted.

And...that's a beautiful thing.

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