Success. What is it, exactly. Well, going by the dictionary definition I just Googled, it is
the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
the attainment of popularity or profit.
a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity
I have been thinking a lot about this over the past week, mostly perhaps because of two funerals of people taken so young. One, the husband of a dear friend after years of health problems, and the other of a dear childhood friend, after a very brief aggressive battle with thyroid cancer. As I attended the funeral of the first and read the obituary of the other, I heard two very very different stories, yet I would count both as successful people. One had a long, long list of degrees, accolades, and positions with government agencies at high levels. This person was also remembered for reading aloud all 7 Harry Potter books to their children on road trips. The other, because of those health challenges, had changed jobs, and for the last several years been unable to work but mentored several people through a 12-step program that they themselves had been a part of at one point in their life. It was mentioned through a letter sent to the funeral that he literally had saved one (now) man's life, as he didn't want anyone's help as a messed up drug using teenager, and this person had befriended him anyway, supported him, took him to AA meetings and literally had (in his words) saved his life. Losing both these friends of course it made me reflect on my own life a little, , ok, a lot, and think about where I am at this point .Would I count myself as "successful".
To be honest, I think how we define ourselves as "successful" totally depends on who we are using as the one giving us "the grade". Is it only ourselves? Our peers? Our family? Personally, the only one I need to feel successful in front of at the end of the day is my Maker, but as a business person, mom, and grandma, I think there are different types of success.
With it still being fairly fresh into a new year, I think goal setting and achieving success are on a lot of small business owner's minds . We set goals because we want to see ourselves "succeed", am I right? We want to grow, stretch, reach for the stars, and we even know that there will be some growing pains with that! Just remember these two things as you think about how to achieve your own "success" this coming year.
1. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The same goes for business. A successful business is made up a series of successful small wins. Set your goals in attainable, bite sized pieces for a certain time period or with a clear deadline. For an example, to stretch myself creatively, keep me posting , and to serve other photographers who follow me, I promised to post a flatlay photo every day for 30 DAYS STRAIGHT. I am only on day ten right now , but I have SUCCESSFULLY showed up for those who I said I would show up for. I have SUCCESSFULLY found what I needed , as I am away from home right now, to create them. Does that make a successful business? No, but it has made successful connections, a successful teaching moment, a successful commitment and ...you get the idea, right?
(You can check out some of those flatlays below or follow along on my Instagram Account. I'd love to hear what kind of business you have or what type of items you'd like to see me make a flatlay of. )
2.Success does not mean the same thing for everyone. When a person sees themselves as "successful" another may not. One might think this means reaching a certain milestone. One might think it means attaining some certain award. Some might believe that success is what happens in your family over what happens in your career. Understand that this is ok. Success, or a feeling of accomplishment, is very personal. One person may run marathons every month and another may have just finished their very first 5k. Who is to say one is more successful?
Here are some other words used when talking about success: Which ones resonate with you?
affluence-wealth-riches-fortune-opulence-luxury-comfort-life of ease-the good life
When it comes to a photography business, do you define success by having 10 clients every day or having one phenomenal client every week? Do you think being successful is having some spare vacation money each month, or having a business that provides for your family? Is success in the dollars you bring in or the amount of time you can spend with your family? Is success to you, as any small business owner, being busy every minute because you are in high demand or being organized and automated enough to schedule in time for you and your family? What about the "business bucket list"? Are you only successful if you have checked off every item on it?
Here's what I mean by a business bucket list. I will make mine based on a photography business because that is what I do, but you could just as easily create one for any small business. Here it it. THE LIST. The one some of you will define success as.
PHOTOGRAPHER'S BUCKET LIST
I Will consider myself successful WHEN I:
__have the best camera
__own my own studio
__have a beautiful instagram feed
__am brining in 30,000 per month
__have 100 hot leads every day
__am published in 50 high end magazines
__am teaching other photographers because I am so amazing they all want to learn from me
__have written a beautiful blog post consistently every week for a full year
__have won awards of every kind
__have attended every photography convention and workshop out there
__have spoken at every photography convention out there
__am good at every genre of photography
__have people paying me millions for my prints
__have every aspect of my business automated yet still have a personal relationship with all of my 1,000,000 followers and my 100,000 organic clients
__am a host blogger for twenty other photography sites
__I bring in new clients each month from beautifully curated ads , Instagram accounts, and good old word of mouth
__I have time to get out an effectively network with everyone else in this business and with potential clients.
__I hold successful mini sessions every week
__Have so many inquiries I turn clients away
__Be sought out by brides from all over the world
I hope you get the idea. While some people are really doing a lot of those things, there is no way they woke up one day and were an, as they say, overnight success. They succeeded in being consistent. They succeed at doing one small step. Then another. Then another. So think about it. What small successes can you focus on this week? Today? Even just this hour? Then celebrate every win, every success, every victory, no matter how small because.. they are all steps on that journey of a thousand miles!
The same goes for all you mamas out there who are trying to be successful at a career from home and be a great mom while still being given the same number of hours in the day as the rest of us.It can be hard. It can be downright overwhelming some days. I've been there. My heart went out even a little more for you mamas this week as I chose to come watch a little munchkin while her parents enjoyed a much needed vacation in Hawaii . I mean, how hard can it be to take care of one 16 month old be for a week? I I can easily get my blogs caught up, some editing done and work a little here and there right? Let's just say I'm celebrating the small wins (10 minutes of not crying .. and I mean me, not the baby) on both the grandma side and the "work remotely side).
Let me know in the comments what kind of business or home you run, your biggest challenge in feeling "successful" or your biggest win today!