redefine success

Redefine SuccessMy Love and I were in the grocery store the other day, and we started talking about success.  I was disheartened because I felt that I should be further along than I am now.  This is my tenth year teaching, and my choir has yet to qualify for Maryland State Choral Festival (Last year, we were closest than we’ve ever been, scoring one grade lower to qualify).  Honestly, I always see myself as being the reason why it hasn’t happened yet.  But Zibby [my love] interrupted me by asking, “But is that what success looks like?”

The look on my face can be best translated into: “Uh…um…yeah…okay.”  Being stunned by her words, I finally said, “You’re right.”

Really, she is.  For as long as I could remember, I’ve equated my successes to awards.  If I don’t get an award, then I must not be successful.  This is my normal way of thinking.  Over my teaching tenure, I’ve witnessed friends who have achieved numerous awards.  And I’ve been genuinely happy for them.  But I use awards as a measuring stick.  It’s not cool, but I’m being honest.

But I’m not being fair to me.

After some thought, I said to Zib, “Well, my kids love me, and know that I love them.  They trust me enough to come into my room and cry.  That is something to smile about.”  Just as I counted more successes, I looked down at my hands: 5 pounds of sugar in the left, and organic coconut oil in the right.  Hmph.  Suddenly, it hit me!  Sugar tastes good, but helps me to gain weight (Let’s say sugar represents my old value of success).  On the other hand, coconut oil is a cooking alternative to vegetable oil (it represents my new perspective of success).

I stood there, looking at these two simple objects, and began hitting the coconut oil against the sugar.  I told Zib, “It’s like I’m trying to replace the old system with a better one.  It’s hard to do.  It’s hard to just let go of the one that I’ve held onto for so long, to grasp fully to the other one.”  “Yeah, but you’ll get it,” she said (isn’t she awesome?).

I say to everyone who reads this: You can make the better object your “new norm.”  I know you can.  It may seem tough at first, but it’s possible.

Until Next Time,

Love & Peace.




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