I can almost guarantee that if I were to ask you for your definition of success and then head over to your neighbour’s house I would get two different answers.
Yours might be to be happy, healthy and surrounded by love. Your neighbour might say it is to live in a mansion on the esplanade and be financially free.
Who is right? Are either of you?
Something happened in my life this week that has me contemplating life and contemplating legacy.
My beautiful grandmother passed away surrounded by her six daughters, creating a wave of heaviness in the hearts of over fifty grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren that are a product of her time on this earth.
My grandmother lived a modest life in a small house in the country, not surrounded by a whole lot of ‘things’. In fact, not needing many ‘things’ at all.
If I asked grandma whether she felt that her life was a success? I am one hundred percent sure she’d give a big smile and say ‘Oh yes dear, of course!’
How can I be so confident?
Just a few short months ago my grandmother was given a photo board with pictures of all of her grandchildren and their families. We are lucky enough to have this moment captured on video and there is no mistaking the sheer pride and joy on grandma’s face as she says, “I can’t believe it. One beautiful family.”
Grandma lived her life loving and giving. No matter what was going on in our lives, whether we were doctors, tradesmen or unemployed, getting married or separating, cute little babies or temperamental teens, grandma greeted us all with the same big smile and warm hug and she ALWAYS had time for us. In a big family it was unfortunately easy to take that for granted, but what remains now is grandma’s legacy - a legacy of love.
I’m sure there is someone else who has left this earth this week who one might say is ‘successful’. They may have had an illustrious career, a heap of money and a beautiful big home. But what does that mean if they haven’t left a positive mark on the world? What do all of the ‘things’ mean if a person hasn’t had a positive impact on someone’s life?
I have one final question for you.
If you are thinking, ‘success to me is definitely a life lived in good health surrounded with those I love’ – do your actions reflect this?
Many of us when asked what we are doing to ensure a successful life will respond with ‘working hard for fifty hours per week so that I can have all of the ‘things’ I’d like and give my family all of the ‘things’ that they deserve.’
Where then is your time to give love and look after your health?
There is a misalignment there for many of us; I know this because I’ve been there.
As I move on to living in this world with a permanent imprint of my grandmother on my heart, I am feeling truly thankful for what she has unknowingly taught me.
She has taught me that success is not a destination, it’s a way of living. She has taught me that while making a positive impact on the world is a noble goal to have, it starts with making a difference to the life of just one person.
If I live my life being genuine, giving to others and being of value, ‘success’ will be a sure consequence of that. I need to trust that the version of success that comes is the right one for me.
Rest in peace Grandma <3