The Measure of True Success

By Judy Mills

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia

I felt both exhilarated and intimidated moving to NYC.

While getting acquainted with all the city offers and loving each new discovery, I also became overwhelmed by the number of successful women living here.  

Maybe it’s just the pure volume of people in the city, and the endless opportunities for comparison, but the more I observed the women, the worse I began to feel about myself.  

THE IDEAL WOMAN

I quickly formed a picture of the ideal NYC woman in my mind. Confident and pretty, she ran her company with excellence. News articles were written about her and anyone given the opportunity wanted to meet with her. Decision-making and turning a profit for her company came easily.  

And I found myself longing to be powerful and strong, just like her. This woman in my head became the embodiment of all I was not, but all I wished to be.

AM I A SUCCESSFUL WOMAN?  

The ideal woman must have been on my mind the day I bluntly asked my husband, “Do you think I’m a strong woman?”

As the words came out, the voices in my head screamed, “What did you just say? Way to put the man on the spot. Way to set yourself up for disappointment when he’s not sure how to respond.”  

Luckily for me, my husband’s a quick thinker. “I do,” he said.

I had no control of my tongue. “Why?” I asked.

“Because you stand by your convictions. You’re the same person no matter where you are or who you’re with.”

“Good answer” I thought, reacting more from relief than processing what he said.  

RETHINKING SUCCESS

In the days that followed, I thought more about his comment. Although the desire to be her hadn’t gone away, the conversation opened up a new way for me to think about being accomplished. My convictions have led me to a new definition:

Success is taking what God has given us and using it to put him at the forefront, and not ourselves.

Flourishing is achieved by becoming women God created us to be; women of unique design and gifting.

THE FREEDOM OF TRUE SUCCESS

I’m inspired by the freedom and possibilities this definition of success brings:

— We’re freed from trying to be like someone else.

— We’re released from reaching a standard other people have achieved or one we set for ourselves.

— We are unaffected by what others are doing.  

— We’re able to explore who God made us to be, and discover how he wired us.  And in the process, we get to know more about him.

God gives us this freedom and with it, he wants us to Do everything heartily and freely to his glory .

Someone else’s job title, relationship status, level of income or influence should not define who we are and how we feel about ourselves.  

How might you reconsider your definition of success and put yourself on a path of unlimited possibilities?