How Do You Define Success?
Updated: Jan 31
One year ago, I was told that the only reason I am where I’m at in life is because I married my husband.
Completely shocked that someone would insinuate that I’m a complete loser without my husband… that I would not have amounted to anything by myself, and that I had no part in helping my husband succeed really bothered me.
As I rehashed the comment, flipping it over and over in my mind, I can honestly say this person had a point. But here is what they missed.
My relationship with my husband is like being on a team. We are each other’s teammates, cheerleaders, supporters, and all the term ‘marriage’ entails. We both have had our ups and downs, and are nothing near to the word perfect. We are flawed, plenty, yet we still come to each other’s aid on a daily basis.
When my husband first started his business, we made the decision together. It was not an easy decision to make being we had two small children, and I was not working. But we both knew that he would not be happy working for someone else anymore, and I believed he had the talent to succeed.
The few times I worked while the kids were young didn’t seem worth the little bit of extra money I could make, so I stayed home to support my family instead. It was ‘our’ decision that I would be a stay-at-home mom, and if anyone else disagreed, too bad, because we were living life the way we felt was right.
After taking the fork in the road towards motherhood, I went along with life, losing myself in taking care of my family and their needs. I’m not saying I was never selfish, because I was, plenty. I still had the desire to do something for myself, and my husband was right there along the way, supporting me as I experimented.
Photography and writing sang to me, and after years of practicing, I started earning a bit of money writing for a local winter guide – a gig that lasted for many years. This turned into more writing opportunities down the road, and having the ability to take decent photos would soon add photo-journalist to my list of personal achievements. The pay wasn’t much, but I could work from home, and that was what was important.
Have I published an award winning novel, become a world famous photographer or photo-journalist?
But I can honestly say that I have succeeded, even if I haven’t made millions of dollars from my work. Having the courage to put oneself out there takes a lot of guts, and so far, I have conquered a lot more than most.
If you were to ask my husband if he would have been the success he is now without me, he would say no. I love him even more for giving me some credit for wading through everything with him, but the truth is, he had the talent. He has a mechanical mind and an eye for how things work. He finds solutions, and understands the concept of making money.
Could he have found his way to becoming an entrepreneur on his own? Most likely.
Did his talents get us where we are now? Absolutely.
Did I sit around eating bon-bons and have no part in helping him with his business? Absolutely not!
But what grinds me most is the truth in the comment… the fact that I never “made it big” on my own talents.
But just like Maverick learned in the movie, “Top Gun,” you never leave your wingman. I was part of team, and I was giving support to “OUR” joint goals.
Other than having enough brains to figure out how to run an office, cost out jobs, save money on materials, invoice customers, develop a tracking system, learn to do payroll, learn an accounting program, make an online presence, get a logo designed, struggle through the red tape of being self-employed on behalf of my husband, and learn all the ins and outs of the state and federal government, it still wasn’t MY talents that got us where we are at today.
It did require plenty of blood, sweat, or tears on my part, and I have just about as many battle scars as my husband. I didn’t just sit around sucking down bon-bons, whining when I needed more.
In the end, I guess you could say that I have been a successful supporter my whole life. I may not have made a bunch of money from this talent, but the support I have given to my family, friends, and even complete strangers labels me something other than a lucky loser.
If anything good has come of it, I guess you could say that I am now inspired to look back at my life and determine if I have done everything I have wanted to do. At a little over half a century old, who knows if I could find success like my husband has.
Maybe I will just have to find out.
Wish me luck!
Look for "Living the Dream" series ahead.