How Do You Feel About What Makes You A Success?

Sitting on a bench thinking about what makes you a success

I recently read a lovely article by another blogger Lisasaurus and her thoughts on what makes you a success.  It really got me thinking about what makes you a success and what is my contribution to the world.  How do I view other people’s success? For the last 15 years we have run a business and have built it up to be a pretty great business.  We have put the hours in, focussed on getting bigger and being well known in our area and basically tried to make a good amount of money to do the things we love doing.  Let’s face it for some of us during our twenties is a time, where I did anyway, we think about expanding our wealth, wanting more and getting ahead.  What you would assume is “being successful”.  I grew up in a household and an area where success was measured by what you did for a job, what car you drove and what “things” you had.  I went to a school that thrived on that life and the importance of what you did after school and what university you were going to was of great importance.

I left school and due to a number of factors didn’t follow through with what I wanted to do at university because at that time I was done with study.  I was done with school and just wanted to get out and enjoy the world, work and earn some money and just experience life and what was out there for me.  I never ended up going to university and at a few times in my life I have said that this was my biggest regret.  It took a dear friend of mine to remind me that if I had gone to university I wouldn’t have everything I have now.  She was right.  I would inevitably be a slightly different person, would never have met my husband, never have had the two beautiful kids I have now and half the people I know who have thoroughly enriched my life over the years.

 I wouldn’t be me.

“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives” 

Michelle Obama

a path leading up a hill to a tree and the journey to what makes you a successI spent my twenties trying to “make something of myself”.  I did study at TAFE, but for some reason thought this wasn’t as important as university, loved working in hospitality for many years before I began the hard uphill climb to fight my way up the corporate ladder.  I was determined that I was going to be someone, someone successful and someone my parents would be proud of.  After several years of doing this and getting marginally ahead I had an annual leave break and over that time I worked in an existing business and helped with some marketing, advertising ideas and just general ways of running the business and staff better. To cut the boring bits out I ended up handing in my resignation and going into partnership with this person on a business that I didn’t really have much idea about. My job would be really for the operations and management side of things so the rest I knew I could learn.

15 years later we have built a successful business that has seen us enjoy some wonderful family holidays, buy a house and basically live a pretty good life in a pretty good place.  I was a business owner, successful (although my school wasn’t asking me back for a speech as it is within the trades industry so not really corporate enough for some), living the Australian dream.

But then about 7 years ago I had kids and I also started properly growing up.  You know, hitting the 30’s and thinking differently to how you do in your twenties.  I managed for the next 5 years to work part-time while hubby took over the business and focus on the kids.  I don’t need to tell any mum how wonderful it is to be able to do this, even through there were the tough times and there were certainly many of those when hubby would come home and I would be in tears because of the usual things mums worry about when they start this crazy parenting ride.   As the kids grew up I think I had the perfect balance.  I got to spend time with the kids but then I also got to go and use my brain and interact with other people, solve problems, feel useful other than just being a mum.  Now that I am back runna father and his children at a park thinking about what makes you a successing the business again while my husband has a break and spends some time with the kids I realise my values have changed and this hasn’t just happened, it’s been a process over the last 7 years.  As I have grown myself and watched my kids grow the things I deemed as important and what I thought success was is quite different.

I look at the people I am friends with now, and all of them are successful.  Not because of what they do, actually, to be honest, some of my friends I don’t actually know exactly what they do.  I mean I know, but sort of don’t but my point is I don’t really care what they do for work.  Sure I want them to be happy in their job but I consider them as successful because of the people they are and the way their families are.  Most of my friends have goals and I have watched over the years as many continue to achieve them or have achieved some and set new ones in all facets of life be it work, parenting, hobbies, personal pursuits.


Albert Einstein was onto it about most things:

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value”

Albert Einstein

All of my friends I view as successful because of who they are.  I have a handful of extremely wonderful friends, I think I have said that before.  All strong, independent, fiercely loyal, strong women.  They are successful because of how they conduct themselves, the respect they have for others, the way they mother their children and put their families priorities over their own, they have made sacrifices for the greater good of their families.  They are kind, compassionate, passionate and positive who never cast judgement quickly and allow their friends and families.

I watch these women and I see all these traits being passed down to their kids.  It is all the things that I strive to be and pass on to my kids.  If I raise kids with all these qualities and they are picking up rubbish in the street, I have been successful.  If my kids treat their friends and their kids what I try to teach them then I have been successful.  My contribution to the world isn’t defined by fame or material objects or feeling like I am not achieving enough without the fancy car and pay packet.

This is success to me.  This is my contribution.

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  • Reply Catherine 03/08/2016 at 2:38 am

    You make a great point: Success isn’t only defined by a career or salary or if you own or rent a home. It’s about what kind of person you are—and how you’re helping your kids become their own people.

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 03/08/2016 at 7:13 am

      Exactly, I think as you get older it means so much more!! Thanks for taking the time to read and letting me know your thoughts as well. 🙂

  • Reply Rosemond 22/07/2016 at 9:10 am

    I think when you do become a parent your idea of what success looks and feels like changes. I know it did for me. When we do “grow up” we realized that our relationships with friends, family and ourselves are what really matters in the long run.

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 22/07/2016 at 9:31 am

      Absolutely. And will continue to I am sure. So true those things are so
      Important and always make me feel happy and complete. ?

  • Reply Racheal M Ackermann 21/07/2016 at 10:36 am

    LOVE THIS!!!!

  • Reply Helen K 21/07/2016 at 10:32 am

    What a lovely site – love one that makes me think! As for success, surely the markers change as you grow and change and move into different stages of your life, but if you are doing your best, giving a bit back but enjoy a bit yourself (and able to be with the ones you love), that’s a pretty good start 🙂

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 21/07/2016 at 10:44 am

      Absolutely they do. Certainly in the next 10 years they will change again I am sure. I agree with you doing your best, you can be happy knowing you have done as best you can. Thank you for your lovely comments and taking the time to read and share your thoughts. I really appreciate it ?

  • Reply Yaroslav 20/07/2016 at 9:38 pm

    Great article, really inspirational. Helping people is main key to success

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 20/07/2016 at 10:19 pm

      Thank you, I appreciate that. I do agree that helping people and giving is very important and part of it. Thanks for your comments. 🙂

  • Reply Dominique 20/07/2016 at 6:13 pm

    A great article! I think “success” is a really personal thing. What success means for one person can mean something completely different for someone else. When I was younger I thought success meant doing well in school, getting in to a good university, and climbing the corporate ladder. Now I’m into my 30’s (only just!) I see success as more to do with the value you add to society in general. On a personal level I also see success as creating a family and pursing a career that is self-motivating and makes you get up in the morning (recently my husband has encouraged me to start a small business – I never thought I would be the kind of person that just wakes up in the morning sometime between 5:30 and 6 because I’m so keen to start work – but it turns out I am – just had to find something I really loved doing!) 🙂

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 20/07/2016 at 8:01 pm

      You are exactly right about it being personal and also you can have different kinds of success. I agree totally about the value you add to society and being a truly good person. So great that you have found something you love, congrats on the new business! We run a business and it has its downsides but can be very rewarding. Good luck with it all! I will have to check out your site to see what you are doing. 🙂

  • Reply Ellen Jackson 20/07/2016 at 5:24 pm

    Lovely post – thank you. Success to me is contentment. Being content with who you are and what you have, whatever that is. It’s been an evolving process. I’m now in my 40s. Wondering how I might define success in my 50s and beyond?

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 20/07/2016 at 8:05 pm

      That is an important point to raise because you are right, success can change as we enter different phases of our life. Contentment is so important, you must be happy with who you are. And yes it definitely evolves. Thanks so much for sharing, I really enjoy getting different perspectives. 🙂

  • Reply Amy Lu 20/07/2016 at 11:56 am

    Success is an interesting concept. I really enjoyed reading your journey of discovering what success means for you.

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 20/07/2016 at 12:14 pm

      Yes it is certainly different for everyone, and everyone should do what makes them happy. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  • Reply Casey 20/07/2016 at 9:39 am

    Great post Suzy! I spend too long trying to compete withe Jones and climb the corporate ladder…now I feel a greater success with less. We have a tiny home just perfect for us but I don’t have to stress about paying the mortgage and that is worth it!

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 20/07/2016 at 10:26 am

      Exactly! Part of our deciding to move out of Sydney was whether it would be a ‘bad choice’ because we may never get back into the market, but I think it takes moving away and probably earning a lot less to realise it isn’t the be all and end all. So glad you are happy and definitely good to have less stress. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  • Reply Jen 20/07/2016 at 2:58 am

    Sorry. “My life, my rules” is what I wanted to say ?

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 20/07/2016 at 10:23 am

      Don’t worry! I knew what you meant! Total culprit myself for typing too quick! 🙂

  • Reply Jen 20/07/2016 at 2:56 am

    I completely agree with you. I recently have been doing some self examination, and am in the process of making a big decision…and I have to say, other people’s definition of success is a big portion of this decision making. I’ve also decided to redefine what success looks like for my children. It’s probably also not compatible with the world’s definition…my ice, my rule s. Thank you for your perspective!

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 20/07/2016 at 10:23 am

      That is such a good point about children. I think it is so important that they don’t think it is all about status and career choices. Hope your decisions making is going well and it leads you to where you want to be. Thanks so much for sharing and reading. 🙂

  • Reply Rebecca Cofino 20/07/2016 at 12:26 am

    Thoughtful piece. I love your line about how having kids made you a grow up. That’s the truth! Success is self-defined. The older I get, the looser my definition of success gets. Happiness is my priority.

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 21/07/2016 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you so much! I agree, the definition definitely changes as you get old and you aren’t as rigid with how you see it. Kids and also the aging process definitely puts many things into perspective. Happiness is so key and so important. Thanks for sharing and reading.

  • Reply Katie 19/07/2016 at 11:39 pm

    “I spent my twenties trying to “make something of myself'” <<< OH MY GOSH…I am in my final year of my 20s and I feel like I am HUSTLING trying to make something of myself and instead, I feel like I'm just running in circles as I run myself into the ground.

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 20/07/2016 at 9:46 am

      Yes it’s funny how when you get older and have been doing it for a while you start to see it for what it is and perhaps whether it is all worth it. Some people thrive off it and are happy to be that way, which is totally cool but your perspective definitely changes. Life is so short, it is important at the end of the day to be happy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me 🙂

  • Reply The Year Of The Daffodil 19/07/2016 at 6:39 am

    What a beautiful post. This is a topic close to my heart as I spent many years as a stay at home mum feeling like what I was doing wasn’t enough. I had previously worked in TV Production and people would keep asking me when I was going back or what I would do next, or when I would study or work again. I constantly felt like I hadn’t made my mark on the world … but years on I have thankfully learned that success isn’t in what you are achieving, it is in who you are becoming and how you show up in the world and love others. For me, parenting is a huge part of that. I think you are amazing and your kids, friends and family are very blessed. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 19/07/2016 at 10:04 am

      Thank you! It’s so true and success is so different to many, many people. You only have to look around you to see if you have been successful or not. I agree, parenting changes many of the ways you think and what is deemed as important. It’s a very special thing and being a mum and providing that safety network for your kids to build their foundations is so important and often completely undervalued. Thank you so much for your kind words, you family and friends are also very blessed to have you too. 🙂

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