I used to define success almost entirely by career status. “I will be successful when I am working in my field, well-respected, well-paid, etc.” It was about status, earning potential, and academic honors for me.
I found that once you are no longer “on top,” you experience failure in some way, or simply realize its too exhausting keeping up the facade that life is peachy, your expectations and definitions of success change.
For some people this may change when they have a family and their priorities are shifted. Others it may take a job loss or other hardship to see.
We all get to individually define what success means to us. To me now, having been incredibly unhappy for a long time, happiness and health are now two major metrics in my personal definition of success. I am successful if I am able to go out into the world and just be unapologetically me, interacting and helping others however I can.
(For those who don’t know… I am doing “30 days to 30” and sharing life lessons and stories in order to celebrate my birthday—hoping to break stigmas and stereotypes about what 30 means and looks like)