A short story about challenging the world's definition of success and creating your own happy life filled with meaning.
The crosswalk sounds the alert to wait. I scan my surroundings. People shuffle past, unsmiling, like a montage of uninspired worker clones from an apocalypse movie; black, grey, and blue suits. We are the city workers going about our daily routines. A woman dressed in a red linen jacket rushes past, pushing me aside. She’s frantic, like she's running to an emergency. Perhaps she is.
Beside me, stand three silver-headed businessmen. Two wear grey suits that blend into the glass facade behind them. One of the men, the fatter one, has a black jacket thrown over his arm while he sips his coffee. “Sure, mate, I’ll get my girl to book that in,” he coughs.
Surely, there's more to life than this?
I heave out a sigh. Will I have to meet the property agent this afternoon, while my boss gets drunk at the men's club with his high-flyer money mates? My eyes sting, my limbs feel like cement bags strapped to my body. I am exhausted, tired of the tight deadlines, early starts, and late finishes.
Tears well up in my burning eyes. I see myself along with those I work with doing the same work-to-home, home-to-work routine every day, barely coping with a rut called life – a life where joy and peace appeared sporadically! Is this what you call a happy life? Surely, there is more to life than this?
Questioning The Concept of 'Success'
I started to question the concept of success, as society had termed it. I watched the 'successful' people around me, people who had walked the path to success and had 'made it.'
My boss was thirty-four years old, a wealthy property developer. He drove a Porsche Boxster, and he lived in a beautiful home, in a prestigious area. He wore designer clothes and had his name on the outside of a high-rise building. Yet, I rarely saw him smile. He was at the office before I arrived, and he was there when I left, except for Fridays when he'd leave early for the club.
Though generous of heart, my boss was often cranky. On most days, he would have a bout of cursing. He would throw his phone across the room, perhaps in an attempt to unload the day-to-day stress of running a growing corporation.
He wasn’t the only 'successful' person I observed. It seemed to me, society had taught us some untruths about what success was. I saw all this striving, but for what? What was it all for?
Rushing around, stressed out, with no time for the things that truly add meaning to our life. Was that the definition of success?
I stopped and thought about what success meant to me ...
I thought about what true success looked like for me.
I wanted to live more moments. To wake up to beauty, to enjoy a slow breakfast with the man I love, to spend more time laughing, to have meaningful relationships, to take lingering lunches overlooking the beach. I wanted time to notice the clouds. To catch a sunset. I wanted to volunteer abroad and learn from other cultures. See how people live, and listen to their life stories. I wanted to travel and experience life.
What I didn’t want, was a life full of stress and mediocrity. I had to try something different. I had to find a way out. AND eventually I did.
At first, I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know if the life I wanted was possible for me. My father was a garbage collector, and I grew up on the “tough side of town.” Was I asking too much from life? Shouldn't I just be grateful for the life I had?
I was grateful ... and because of that, I wanted to make the most of what opportunities I had available to me. I put a plan together. With lots of prayers and encouragement from my husband, I got the courage to start my own hustle on the side.
It only takes one person, one moment at a time, to change your life ...
I have learned that just one person, one opportunity at one time, can help you turn your life around. People like Elin Power, an incredible mentor and coach; she arranged to release me from an agency contract. This enabled me to take on more of my own clients and explore my remote business opportunities.
Then there were people like Michael Neil and his business partner at the time, Michelle, who were the first to say “Yes” to my online services - even though I had zero experience and lived on the other side of the world - me being in Australia, them in the USA.
My first online client meant the beginning of my first online business. Michael and Michelle introduced me to Bernadette Doyle, a successful online marketer in the UK. From there things just grew. And I was now in the business of helping consultants and coaches in Australia, the US, and the UK to design and prepare their workshops, training, and marketing materials.
As the online industry grew, the business evolved and expanded - to the point that my husband, John, was able to join me, giving us the freedom to enjoy many moments that make up a meaningful, happy life for us.
Here are a couple of snippets ...
Creating Daily Inspired Life ...
While I continue my work in the online industry, I am now much more focused on a project close to my heart, Daily Inspired Life - a place to share true and inspiring stories from everyday people around the world. The more I travel, the more people I meet, the more I experience the power of sharing stories.
Our true, real stories - not the ones that the media feeds us - help us to build bridges that cross over generations, cultures, and class. Stories give a voice to the unheard and misunderstood, and stories help us understand each other.
Inspiring stories bring us hope that a meaningful and happy life is possible.
That's why I created Daily Inspired Life.
We all want a meaningful, happy life ...
I am convinced that with the desire and the right people supporting and guiding us, we can live a successful, happy life, according to our own definition of success, not what society has told us.
We each have our own dreams. You have your own dream, or definition of success. The life I live could be very different from what you're looking for....
But there is something that all people I meet have in common:
We all want a meaningful, happy life.