Success is a strange thing. It’s one of those terms that we tend to use to describe other people, but never ourselves. We can say we are unhappy, hard-worked, stressed and dedicated all day long in the hope that we somehow appear successful – or at the least extremely busy – to others, but to stand up and proudly say “I am successful” seems too much. Too cocky.

How dare we have the audacity to praise our own accomplishments?

Yet, isn’t it the one thing most universally desired amongst most humans? Don’t we all want to be successful at whatever is that we do? Well after years of self-doubt I’ve taken a good hard look at my humble little existence and I’ve realised that am successful. Fuck it. I am my own success story and you can be too.

No one knows what I’ve been through

I don’t mean that in a dramatic “I’ve survived a zombie apocalypse” type of scenario, or even “I’ve survived a traumatic event”, something that many people really have gone through and emerged beautifully from the wreckage. I just mean that no one has the right to judge my success without personally knowing my circumstances. I mean really knowing me.

Even if you saw my life history down on paper, you still don’t know what’s gone on inside my head all of these years; the low self-esteem, the body image issues, the problematic eating habits and social anxiety problems that have reared their ugly heads in the past few years alone. No one can possibly tell me how successful I am because they don’t know the breakthroughs I’ve had to make on my own, in my head, repeatedly every day before I could even consider tackling practical barriers like getting a god job or buying a house.

I’m not saying Poor me, quite the opposite in fact. I’m saying Yes! Go me! because I’ve began to conquer my internal struggles and that’s a success story in the making right there.

I set my own standard of success

The universally recognised checklist for success is generally made up of a respected career, good income, marriage, home ownership, flashy car and maybe a couple of kids thrown in for a laugh. I have one of these things and the rest are unattainable for me at the moment so I’m just writing a new checklist. And guess what – its constantly changing.

At the moment I’m on a roll with regularly putting out blog content and getting more visitors to my site. I don’t get a lot if traffic so a successful day for me means increasing my traffic by 10% or getting my post retweeted on Twitter.

On a day when my depression has set in real deep, a home run for me is getting dressed and managing to pop to the shop for some milk. That’s reality for me, and I’ve come to terms with that. I will have days like that on a regular basis and that’s just what I have to work with to be happy.

Once it clicked that the bar was set by me – not my family, friends, employers or society – it seemed obvious that I could easily be a success in my own world. I set my own private goals and work towards smashing them.

I found out that salary means nothing

I’m well aware that it’s been said a million times, but money doesn’t necessarily make you happy. Money is a clear motivator to work hard at something, and having extra cash makes life easier and means you can support your family. So does this mean we should continue to pursue money as the root of all happiness? I’m not convinced.

Once you’ve worked hard to achieve a salary that makes life comfortable and enjoyable, the need to continually better the number on your wage slip year on year is a trap that many people fall into because they see it as the holy grail of success. The only way to prove their worth to the world.

I’ve been on a really nice income in the past and I was incredibly unhappy for a lot of that time. For some people it brings them genuine joy and that’s fantastic, I’m glad that they know what makes them happy. I’ve realised that job satisfaction, or even just having a job that allows time for the hobbies I enjoy is where it’s at for me right now.

If I can earn enough to get by and have the time and energy to do my favourite workouts, blog every couple of days and maintain strong relationships with my husband , friends and family then that’ll do. That’ll do just nicely, thanks.

How do you define success?