What Does Success Mean To You?

by Jeannie Walters

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Success MattersA few months ago, I put this post on Facebook: “Doing laundry on a Saturday night. Living the dream here, people!” In a weird way, this sums up my definition of success.

How many times are we asked these questions: What does success mean to you? How do you define it?


It’s not about money.

It’s not about fame.

Or is it?

For me, it’s about having a balance and feeling good and achieving goals and occasionally eating really, really good chocolate and drinking some fabulous wine with people who “get me,” after a day of doing something awesome and outside with my kids. But in this success dream, the kids are in bed.

But it’s tricky and elusive. And I’m still figuring out exactly what balance means. Or doesn’t mean. Or something.

Because with balance, comes too much responsibility. It’s not really balance at all, is it? It’s the shifting of tectonic plates. Every. Darn. Day.

Here are some of the things I’m currently behind on:

1. Oh, wait, first I have to find the library books that are due today.

2. I’m the worst room mother ever. I seriously don’t know what I was thinking when I volunteered. And so I’m behind in those duties. Teacher gifts, etc. are typically the to-do’s I think of at 4 am.

3. I haven’t made dinner in a long time. My husband, thank goodness, is a much better cook and makes us wonderful meals most nights. But I am not unaware of the looks I get when I say he is the cook. I am failing, apparently, at this spousal duty.

4. I have not reviewed and reconciled my business accounting in a while. I have a system for this. I’m just not always following it.

5. My office is too messy.

6. I should have lots of things for my business that I don’t have yet – a Facebook page (you’ll “like” me, right!?), a newsletter, some other things.

7. I haven’t seen some of my friends in way too long. And by “see,” I mean literally, with my own two eyes, look into their eyes, and not from an avatar. We are far-flung across the great swath of Illinois we mistakenly call “the Chicago suburbs” and the effort to see each other becomes too much. I think of them often, but can’t seem to make a date stick where a kid doesn’t get sick or a speaking gig magically happens after I’ve given up on the organizers.

8. I read, but not as much as I like. I have no excuse for this. It just doesn’t always happen.

9. I’m lucky enough to come from a big family and should see all them more often.

So why 9? Because #10 will occur to me somewhere between drifting to sleep and 6 a.m.

What does this have to do with success? When I really think about what I DO have time for, I realize I’m living my dream already.

  • I spend a lot of time with my kids and my husband. It’s not all glamorous – there are many moments spent running around looking for shoes or baseball mitts, but they are mine. And I adore them. I see the little moments that lead to so many other things.
  • I kick off work by 5 pretty much every day. Sometimes I’ll work after the kids are asleep, but for the most part I am off the clock early, which I love.
  • I love my client work. I sometimes go overboard focusing on this instead of my business, but who could blame me? I work with nice people all over the country and we get to improve lives a little bit each day. I know that sounds grandiose and self-important. It is. I admit it.
  • I have friends all over the world thanks to my tweets and posts and comments. This fact never ceases to amaze me.
  • I live on a great block where waving to neighbors is really connecting with friends. We are part of a larger community that helps us connect with one another and raise our kids together and feel good about where we live. No small feat.

My success dream is still there – I have some things to do and still want to achieve more. But when I start going down the “oh no, I’m behind and I’m not successful” path, I can quickly realize I’m living the dream. Even on a sexy Saturday night when I’m toting around a laundry basket.

Photo Credits: alter1fo & Toban Black


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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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