Sunday, February 04, 2007

What is My Definition of Success?

(Husband and older daughter looking out over the Badlands in South Dakota, 2005)

Today my daughter and I took a different route than running around the block. We actually ran down part of the main road that I normally run on, then cut through the neighborhood a bit. We even ran by the house of one of her friends and chatted with her friend's dad for a bit. It was a really nice 1.54 mile run, running 1:30 and walking 1:00 minute. Total time running was 19:51 min.

After the run with my daughter, I decided to go out for another 3 miles on my own. I made it an easy 3 miles, and spent the time thinking (and talking to myself) about how I would answer the question, "How do you define success?" You see, I have a lot of evidence in my life that would indicate that I am a successful person, however, they are not why I am successful. I had this epiphany one day while sitting in my office at work. As I looked around and saw all of the "success items" on my walls (Bachelor's and Master's degrees, project management certification, company leadership program participation, 5 year and 10 year employee awards, and business cards with the title "Vice President" on them). Had I "arrived"? Could I finally declare success. Even most recently, my small bulletin board is covered with my marathon pictures and my medal hangs there. Another trophy?

And what about at home? I have a nice house in a nice neighborhood, two wonderful kids and a great marriage with my best friend.

None of these things are bad (in fact they are really great!). Goals are good things to work toward and achieve. They help keep me focused on the things that mean most in my life. But it is not the final achievement that marks success. It is who I become while I am pursuing those things. It is how I live in each moment of each day as I reach those goals.

So success, to me, is living the fullest of each moment of each day with those around me in the life that I have, at that moment. It is that feeling I have when I feel I am one with the universe - that I have a specific place in it and I am right where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing. It is the feeling I have when I look at the picture above and feel the wonder of the extraordinary world we live in.

And the run? Well, it was a marvelous feeling easy run. I don't have the splits (seems the Garmin just continued on from the run with my daughter) but the final time was 35:03 for 3.1 miles - average heart rate around 155 bpm. The heel feels about normal - a little achey after the run.

So when I get to run around the neighborhood chatting happily with my daughter....I call that success!! :-)


Susan said...

I agree wholeheartedly. To me, it is the little things that cause me to feel more successful than bigger, more supposedly "defining" successes. The journey, more so than the destination, is where the success lies!

Kevin said...

Great comments Chris. I LOVE the quote Steve talks about all the time, from Dr. Sheehan, "Life is short, but it SHOULD be long enough".