Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Girl Talk: Defining Success

I am so excited to start this "Girl Talk" series. I've got some awesome ladies here today talking about success and how they define success.

I feel like success is a huge motivator in our lives, but sometimes it can seem like we're chasing a moving target. Our definition of success can often change and the way we feel about our accomplishments can change. For some of us, a daily workout is just a part of our day, for others we may feel very accomplished after that morning run. Why? Success is so individual, yet we often allow our society to attempt to make us feel the need to match a one-size fits all approach.

Meet Lauren

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 What does success mean to you?
 To me, success means feeling content with my actions. And not a contentment that resembles resigned indifference; instead a peaceful, at ease, joy and pride. 

What accomplishments have left you feeling the most successful?
As silly as this may sound, I felt incredibly successful after I married my husband in the temple. As a convert, the idea of reaching the temple seemed so far fetched. But after hard work and a lot of commitment, we were able to make it. After our wedding ceremony, I felt complete bliss and really proud of us. I knew we had made the right decision and I was filled with hope for the future. 
One other time I felt incredibly successful was when I birthed my baby girl with very little medical intervention. It was something I had strived and hoped for and had worried about. Holding my daughter in my arms, after working so hard to get her into the world, and knowing she was healthy… well, that was an absolute perfect mix of peace, joy, and pride.

Who are some people that you feel are successful? What makes them successful in your eyes?
  This might be really cliche - but I have to say it anyways… I feel like Oprah is really successful. And I'm not just talking about her money or shows or magazine. It's more than that. I really believe that she does what she loves and she loves doing it and seems content with her life. I don't see her as someone who is itching for more or craving the next "fix" for a fame "high." I don't feel like she has to TRY to get others to validate her because she validates herself.  She takes pride in what she does but she is humble. She seems at peace and at ease and radiates that easy going confidence and joy. I really do admire her.

Can you tell about a time that you felt like you failed and what was the cause for those feelings?
Before Brielle started sleeping through the night, she had a short colicky phase. At times, she would just cry and cry; the only thing that would calm her down was a ride in the car. Although I knew I wasn't the source of her discomfort and that there was very little I could do to help, I felt like an awful mother. I felt like I couldn't nurture her or give her what she needed and I felt like I was failing at being a mother. I was (and still am!) so new to being a mom, I was sleep deprived, and the hormones were raging so I beat myself up for it. I couldn't help but think I had let my daughter down. 
But I think the real reason for that feeling of failing was I had set an unrealistic standard for myself and then I, of course, failed to reach it. While I don't want to enable myself by lowering my standards, I do need to remind myself to be realistic… Just because my baby cries, doesn't mean I fail at being a mom!

Do you think your definition of success has changed over the years? Do you think it might continue to change? What causes the change?
I definitely know that my definition of success has changed over time. When I was really young I thought it meant money, toys, a big house - ultimately, I thought success meant THINGS. And then when I was in school I thought it revolved around my grades or scholarships or awards. But my perspective is different now. I don't feel like success revolves around things or acknowledgement from others…  And I don't feel like I have to constantly reach some lofty goal in order to feel success because I can feel it during every day of my life. And I can feel success no matter what my circumstances. Might this perspective change down the road? Of course. New experiences in my life might change how I view success. But I'll cross that bridge when I get there!

Meet Bailey
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What does success mean to you?

The meaning of success has changed for me over time. I used to think it was having a great job title, lots of money, and an Ivy League degree. But, I've learned that it's about accomplishing your goals-- YOUR goals, not somebody else's goals and certainly not society's expected goals.

What accomplishments have left you feeling the most successful?
Achieving a 3.91 GPA in college was the most successful moment in my life to date. Not necessarily because it's a great GPA, but because I worked hard to achieve a goal that I wanted for myself. I was involved in numerous extracurricular activities and worked multiple on-campus jobs during my time in college, so the fact that I did so well in my classes (All A's except for 3 B's!) still amazes me.

Who are some people that you feel are successful? What makes them successful in your eyes?
 My friend Laura is, in my eyes, successful. She would tell you otherwise, as she graduated at the bottom of her college class, will be in a career that wasn't her first choice and has no idea what she wants to do in the civilian world. But the fact that she graduated from the US Air Force Academy despite being told repeatedly she'd never make it through is what I deem successful. She saw a goal-- proving everyone wrong-- and worked to accomplish her goal. She wasn't perfect at it, and she made many mistakes along the way, but I'd still consider her the most successful person I know.

Do you think your definition of success has changed over the years? Do you think it might continue to change? What causes the change?
 My goals change as I myself change. My freshman year of college, I had a goal of graduating with a 4.0 GPA. Obviously that didn't happen, and I'm actually glad. I learned there's so much more to life than just grades. I have no idea what my future holds. Right now my goal is to work hard at my current job (as dead-end as it may be) and eventually get a Master's degree. Maybe I'll be content with the job I have. Maybe, in a few years, I'll get married and have kids and decide to be a stay-at-home mom. I can be just as successful as a stay-at-home mom as I can as a professional woman.
Bailey is talking more about goals on her blog today, check it out! 

Do any of the thoughts shared today resonate with you. What are your thoughts or experiences with success?

For more information on the Girl Talk series, see here.


  1. Bailey KayJune 18, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    Thanks for having me, Sharlee!

  2. Sharlee HatchJune 18, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    No, thank you Bailey! I loved hearing your thoughts!

  3. Life with AmberlyJune 19, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    I love this!! Such a great start to an amazing series :)

  4. MercedesJune 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    I absolutely love this series already! And boy can I totally relate to Lauren's feelings on feeling like an inadequate mother at times, but really that's totally silly and we are both great mothers. I also set a GPA goal for myself in college and know how great it feels to accomplish that for yourself and no one else. Great post!!

  5. Lauren SkousenJuly 1, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Sharlee, it has been a while since I visited your blog but I just read through and wow - YOU are the epitome of success to me. Thank you so much for sharing my thoughts on this, it was great being featured here.

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