“There is only one success:
To be able to spend your life in your own way”
‒ Christopher Morley
It seems like people have as much difficulty achieving success as they do happiness—but I think they are one in the same. I think that almost all unhappiness stems from the same place: disappointment. As long as you are trying to follow someone else’s steps to happiness or to meet someone else’s expectations of success, you will be nothing but disappointed in the end.
Recently, during an interview to join a local Board of Trustees, I was asked one question that seemed out of the blue after a steady flow of questions about my goals and experience. One Board member asked, “If money wasn’t an issue, what would you do for the rest of your life?”
I couldn’t believe the speed at which I blurted out my answer: “I’d do exactly what I’m doing right now.” I honestly didn’t even take time to think about it, which isn’t exactly how you want to go about answering questions in an interview. Judging by the looks I received, the Board members were also surprised how quickly I answered, and I instantly felt as though the answer sounded less than genuine. I thought, Should I backtrack? Should I come up with something more interesting or challenging? Should I have said the same thing but after taking a respectful moment to think?
I didn’t backtrack, and I definitely didn’t change my answer. I realized that I might not be making as much money as I was before in my fast-pasted corporate communications position, but I have created a life of freedom, growth, and adventure. Over the past year, I realized that I’m just not cut out for a life of working towards someone else’s goals—I want to imagine, develop, follow, and achieve goals of my own. I’m no longer worried about disappointing anyone.
For you, that might mean pursuing a job that allows you to travel, or start a blog of your own. It might mean going back to school later in life, taking a risk to answer the nagging “what ifs” in the back of your mind. My husband and I have decided to stop worrying and start doing—we are going to jump at opportunities when they present themselves instead of second-guessing, and we’re not going to be afraid to do things a little differently, and it’s already worth it.