Behind The Quill

Define Success for You, Dudette

August 23, 2019

What does success look like to you?

Success can seem like a really scary word. It certainly does to me. Constantly trapped between what success should look like and what it looks like in my heart and soul.

What I know to be true today is that success, for me, is a feeling and that it doesn’t have to be an overarching notion.

I’m sorry, Steph, but what? You’ve lost me.

Ok, let me clarify. What I’ve come to realize is that, for me, compartmentalizing success in my life has an incredibly healthy effect on the outcomes within it.

There was a time where I associated success with money and titles. In other words, with ego and entitlement. Within the last year, I’ve come to really realize that that is not what success looks like to me. Success is a feeling, not a financial goal or job title.

It isn’t being able to peacock about the job I have to my friends and family members, it’s about feeling fulfilled and accomplished in my life.

I know now that, for me, success looks like building a business for myself, supporting myself, and creating a location independent lifestyle. Why? because I am seeking the feeling of knowing that I did that for myself. The feeling of accomplishing something that I set out to do because I knew, in my heart, that it was what was right for me.

Success looks like saying no to the things I don’t jive with, even if it means turning down dollars because I refuse to live my life in contraction. Aim for expansion, dudette!

Success looks like spending my days doing the things that I love. Puppy playdates, coffee dates, adventures, and mornings spent reading and writing. It looks like being able to lean into the joy.

Success looks like making a positive impact on people (near +far) through my actions, through my writing, and through my business.

Success looks like looking within and growing every day. It looks like striving to be the best version of myself and to continuing to push her boundaries, until she one day is more than she had ever envisioned for herself.

Success is looking back on my life with love and appreciation for every moment. Embracing it all. Every lesson, every hurdle, every hug.

Success is being comfortable in the skin I am in. To channel the words of fierce female:

“I am dangerous I love myself so much.”

Brené Brown

It looks like loving my body for all that it is and does for me, it looks like letting the magical unicorness that is me out, unapologetically, so that others can be influenced and inspired to do the same. Owning who I am, completely and fiercely. JUST DO YOU, DUDETTE.

Success looks like having a strong and healthy relationship. It looks like choosing a partner to share my life with, who supports me as I am, and as I grow into who I am meant to be. Who makes space for me to support him too.

Gratitude meet Ego. Ego meet Gratitude.

Be grateful for every moment

In many ways, and under the terms described above, I consider my life to be the epitome success. I am completely overwhelmed with gratitude for my life and I have often tied success to gratitude, in my mind.

So, if I am completely and utterly grateful for my life (which I am) does that mean I’m successful? Does it make me ungrateful to want more? Does wanting more money to support my life and business make me ungrateful for what I have? Does it mean my life, in fact, is not “successful”?

Let me introduce you to my ego.

She’s not evil, she’s just protective. She’s been conditioned to protect me, which is sweet of her, but her protection bubble stems from fear, and, I’m not down for that. #fackyoufeargremlin

To her, “winning” and validation means that I am successful.

I have carried her with me everywhere I go for a long time, without having ever really met her, but we’ve become closely acquainted this year. I embrace her and acknowledge her, but I am not guided by her anymore (or I try my best not to be, anyway).

Let me be clear, I’m not saying wanting more money means your an ego-driven monster. Absolutely not. It’s the opposite point actually that I am trying to make.

Money, my new bestie

I have lived for a long time with the wrong idea around money. Poor guy.

I was walking around thinking he was evil and thinking that if I wanted more of it I was greedy and ungrateful. Um, wrong.

The fact of the matter is that money is not evil, people are evil. I was blaming poor money for all the shitty things that shitty people do with it. Hoarding it, corrupting it, staining it.

Good people with a lot of money do a lot of good things. They make the world around them better and they are able to influence their goodness further because of the reach that money allows them.

What I’m trying to say here is what I’ve come to understand is that wanting more money does not make me ungrateful for my life, as it is. It simply means I want to upgrade my life so that I can upgrade myself and, thus, the influence I have on the world.

For me, having more money doesn’t look like designer purses (totally cool if that’s what it looks like to you though), it looks like waking up to mountain views and first-class plane tickets. It looks like having the freedom to grow my business and thus my impact. It looks like being able to offer more support to the charities I love and contribute to. It looks like supporting my friends and family, in more ways than emotionally haha. Although, I am not discounting the value of that.

The fact of the matter is that wealth is a part of my success model. But, not in the way I had once thought it had to be.

Success looks like freedom. And, the fact of the matter is, money brings you certain types of freedom. If you are ready for it.

Ok…So, that means that because I’m not at the income level I desire I’m not successful?


You are Success

Have you not been listening? Sheesh.

I know now that aspiring for more does not negate the life I am currently living and the overwhelming gratitude I feel for it.

Nor does it mean that being happy in my life now will negate any future lifestyle upgrades.

Being grateful now, always, is the key.

The more you grow, the more you’ll have to be grateful for, but just be grateful.

That’s success.

Success for me means pushing myself to grow everyday in my business, my life, my mindset, and my health.

It means being present in every moment and grateful for every moment that I am.

It means embracing myself and my life for all that they are and have to offer. Making the most of it all. Because, in the words of Katrina Ruth “It is what it is, and that’s all it is.”

Most importantly, success means creating my own definition of success. It’s saying fuck it to what anyone else has to say about it. #fackit

I am the only me there is, so what do they know anyway?

You are the only you there is, so what do they know anyway?


Life is the adventure, define it however you’d like.