What does success look like?

One of my art journal pages – obsessed with pink and cream at the moment.

Vicki from In.cube8r – [Love her!] asked me the other day what my definition of success was.  What did success look like for me?  She asked me – if I was already doing what I loved, wasn’t that success?

Of course, my instant reply – my vision of success – was when I could quit That Day Job.  Isn’t that the big dream so many of us have?  To do what we love and actually get paid for it?

I’ve wanted to be my own boss since I was 19.   I still remember talking to a girl I worked with when I was about 21.  She said her dream was to be someone’s personal assistant.  I thought ‘how unambitious’.  I wanted to have my own business where I had a personal assistant!

But there are also significant milestones along the way – sign posts of success – that I consider a form of success too.

After 3 designers, over 100 blog posts, hundreds of hours reading & learning & researching & emailing – surely sticking with it has to count as it’s own success?  To keep going when things didn’t go to plan.  When it took longer than I thought.  When it cost more than I expected.  I have to give myself a high five for getting this far.

When that box arrived with my stamps inside, it was a huge milestone.  A ‘husband took me out to fancy lunch to celebrate’ milestone.  The fact I can hold my products in my hands after 14 years of wanting this is huge.  That counts as a success all on it’s own.  I can still remember taking photos (with a camera that actually had film!-oh yes) to try and convert into stamps.  Tracing pictures from a gardening book I borrowed out of the library on the verandah of my rented house all those years ago.  You know, I still have those traced pictures.  Despite moving house 3 times since and having a ruthless clean out each time we moved – I kept those tracings.

When I open my Etsy store and make that very first sale, it will mean I am officially a creative business woman.  You are not in business until you make a sale – that’s what they say.  To know someone likes what I have created as much as I do.  Enough to spend their precious art budget with me.  What an exciting day that will be.  And such a privilege.

I have other goals and ideas and plans.  To have gotten this far in a little over a year – I wonder where I will be another year from now.  How will my business (and I) have grown and changed.  What challenges will I have overcome?  What will I have learned?  And who will I have met?  I am hoping this adventure just gets better and better.

To do what you love.  To get to share that with other people.  That is success.

Coral.  xo

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4 Responses to What does success look like?

  1. Erin says:

    I think so often we assume we know what things like success and happiness look like to us, but when we actually have to put them into words, we realize we can’t. And once we’ve had time to think about it, we realize that we actually want doesn’t necessarily look like what we thought we wanted (or expected to want).

    Cheers on all your huge steps forward and on really, truly, going for this dream!

    • Coral says:

      Thank you for your encouragement and support, Erin. I think we can often see what happiness looks like at the end of really big goals but maybe don’t think about the quiet moments of happiness we get to experience along the way because we have our eye on the big prize. I am realizing how important and precious those little moments are. Here’s to the moments not apparent to the crowd.

  2. ooh err, I’m a bit chuffed that I inspired you to think about your definition!! I’m glad to see you’ve thought long & hard about it, and I will be proud to be a purchaser of your items once they’re listed. Get to it young lady!! And thanks xxxx

    • Coral says:

      Your question has had me thinking for days. Of course the automatic response is to quit my day job. But there has to be some successes along the way to that point. Some smaller but no less important successes along the way to the big one. Mather ultimate one. Your question reminded me of that. Love your wisdom.

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