The easiest way to dissect success is though gratitude. Giving thanks for that which we do have, for what is working, appreciating the simple things we sometimes take for granted. We give thanks for these things and that gratitude reciprocates, creating more to be thankful for.
-Matthew McConaughy, 13 Lessons learned
Sometimes when I’m in the midst of a crisis of faith — in this case, faith in what I do, the work I produce and most importantly, faith in my chosen profession — I try to find things for which to be thankful. Here is the thing — I don’t consider myself to be a success. But I do feel that I have been graced by luck. 8 years ago I was able to leave a full time job and transition to my own business — a business that afforded me the luxury of watching my own children grow. How am I lucky? I fell into this career through a series of small, well-timed (some would say lucky) connections. I was lucky to have a husband who supported me and believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I was lucky that he was able to take a leap of faith with me when I left my job — and a belief that I could and would be successful. I have been lucky to have clients who appreciate me and acknowledge the value of my work and to continue to find clients who appreciate me and see value in my work. I am lucky to have children who will know, through beautiful pictures, just how much they are loved. I am lucky because I have many friends who rally around me when the struggle to persevere weighs heavily on my shoulders.
My problem has always been that I do not know how to define success in the long term. I can define it in small increments – i.e. today I had a successful session – but not in the “I have lived a successful life” way. So when I read the above quote (and I would be remiss if I didn’t add that the whole essay is wonderful) I knew I had to reframe my feelings about success. All those things I was lucky to have are just some of the reasons for which I am so very grateful. My problem as I see it is that I was defining success the wrong way. Instead of success being a lifelong endeavor, every day is an incremental success. Because every day I have something for which to be grateful, even if I don’t always recognize it at the time.
With love, is another newborn post — another client who acknowledged the value of my work and so for today, is why I am a success.