advice

Defining Success On Your Terms Will Set You On A Healthier Path To Happiness

I think we need to sit down and have a conversation about success. How do you define success? Is it millions of views that translate into thousands of dollars? Is it your name on the Canadian Walk of Fame? (I totally want that one day!) Is it knowing that you’ve helped other people along their journey?

Until you decide what success means to you, you really cannot compare your journey to someone else’s.

I had the opportunity to talk with Lynnette Edwards today, who is a Black Author of ten books and the creator of the Writer’s Rock app, available on Apple iTunes and Google Play.

Today she told me that she’s planning on getting away from doing one thing, and moving into something else, and all I could think is “I want to get to that place, where this kind of project is part of my life too.

I realized that I wasn’t jealous though, I was and continue to be, incredibly happy and proud for her because she’s been working towards these goals for more than ten years.

It’s not about the end for me, this phase of my life is entirely about the journey, and I am loving it. Not every second of it, that’s for sure, some days are grueling and difficult beyond belief, sometimes climbing out of bed is more of a chore than it should be.

Some days I don’t feel like writing. I don’t feel like creating free content to help get my name out there, but then I have to remember that success depends on me doing the work. If I’m not doing the work, then I am failing at my job here at Loud Mouth Brown Girl. How can I encourage others, if I am not feeling encouraged myself? So I get up, and I do the fucking work.

I realize that I need to start setting a schedule for myself, because I know that will only add another layer to this experience that I define as successful.

I find it more difficult to get the work done if I am worried about what other people will think of my writing. I am tired of that idea that I have to be up to someone else’s standards, that’s precisely why I started my own company.

I reminded myself earlier today when I was talking to Lynette that her idea of success is not the same as mine. Sure at the end of the day “real success” can be equated with money and adulation and all that comes with that, but the fact that after everything I’ve been through I am safe and still writing matters to me.

I shouldn’t be here. I should be dead. I’ve said this before, if you look at the statistics of the average Black girl who has experienced what I have, I should be fucking, dead.

But I’m not, I am here and I am making my time here – however much I may have – matter to me. The stuff that I am doing, the clothing, the book, the podcast, they matter to me.

They matter to my audience, I know this when I look at my stats and see people from all over the world, Uganda to Ireland, India to China and Ireland visiting my website. Even if y’all don’t leave comments, I see that you have come to this website looking for something. (I hope I’ve helped you!)

Thirty-forty people a day may not like seem like a lot to someone like Chris Evans or Bella Thorne, but they matter to me, because I used to have no one reading my website. Statistics didn’t used to matter to me before. They matter to me now, because it means that my messages are getting out there into the world and that matters to me.

I think for me, success is more about “are you happy?” then “are you making millions of dollars?

When I think about all of my favorite celebrities and super heros, I think about the number of times they’ve talked about their experiences with mental health, sexual abuse and trauma and I believe that they didn’t let any of that stuff hold them back, so what’s to say that they will hold me back?

At a certain point I am going to need someone who believes in what I am doing and wants to pay me to do it more often, but I know that will come in time. Right now in this moment I am happy with my life and that’s the first time that I’ve ever been able to say that.

That’s fucking HUGE.

It’s easy to want the fancy cars and to have the hopes and dreams, but at the end of the day are you really working towards that? Is it your every second of the day goal? Or is it to make your time here matter by making sure that you leave more good with the blessings you get?

Not so long ago when I was meditating I made a promise to make sure that for every three and a half I get, I give one and a half back, and I stand by that because even though it means that I might have “less” in some areas, I will have more in other areas.

Almost every podcast that I do the person I am talking to takes time to tell me that what I am doing is important and that it matters to them, that’s huge for me.

It inspires me to keep going, and the point isn’t to have people tell me how great I am, it’s to be reminded that the path that I am on is right.

When people agree with you -genuinely- and cheer you on, -genuinely-, it helps to remind you that you are going the right direction and that’s encouragement that we could all use a little more of.

If you’re feeling discouraged because the people in your life, your family, friends, aren’t cheering you on, it’s not just because they suck, it’s because they don’t see the vision the way you do. You can only explain the vision to them so many times before you have to move on, and just get the work done so that you can get where you want to go.

Last night a friend of mine – who shall remain anonymous – was talking about fame and how important fame used to be. Now this person covets their privacy and I understand it.

I am throwing myself to the wolves by sharing my story, knowing that I don’t have all the details, knowing that because of my story I deal a lot with social anxiety. I know that I am putting myself out there with the expectation that one day I will be famous and quite wealthy.

I know that I am setting myself up for disappointment if things don’t turn out the way that I want them to, which is why I am focused on not focusing on the future, but enjoying the moment.

It doesn’t matter how the future turns out, what matters is that right now…in this moment…in this part of my experience on this earth, I am in a healthier place than I have ever been before.

That to me is a huge success.

So again I ask you, how do you define success? Is it money, power, glitz and glamour? Or is it being happiest in the moment?

Leave a comment below and let’s discuss, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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