Allow me to admit something that is disparaged by our go-go culture: I am not ambitious.

I don’t want to hustle, crush it (sorry Gary), or make six figures in 3 easy steps (as if!). No, the traditional markers and drivers of ambition and success elude me—by choice.

I have no desire to compete, nor succeed, in the arena of conventional ambition.

I’m not after shiny objects, acclaim, or Internet fame. I’m not interested in growing my business into an unmanageable, faceless behemoth. I want my business and life to be sustainable, to earn a decent income, and to deliver top value to my clients—these are markers of success for me.

I want to do good work for good people, and live a fulfilling life unencumbered by the weight and pressure of society’s influences.

While I’m not traditionally ambitious, I hunger to live life according to my rules and to quest for knowledge, truth, beauty, and freedom. Oh, and creativity—that’s important, too. These five qualities: Creativity, knowledge, truth, beauty, and freedom are my personal markers of success. When I am in the flow and living true to myself, it’s these qualities that guide my life.

And the more I live with little regard for what others think, the better I feel about who I am and what I’m doing with my precious time on this blue-green planet.

When I fall out of alignment with my values, usually because comparison-itis creeps in, these qualities go out the window. When this misalignment happens, I start to drift toward the pursuit of the standard measures of success—things like money, material goods, and symbols that suggest I am making it.

Since these episodes are infrequent, and as a result, they throw me into a state of burnout and frustration, it doesn’t take long before I come to a screeching halt. And, if I’m not mindful when correcting my course, I tend to go to the other extreme of wanting to abandon everything I have achieved in a baby with the bath water fit of haste. The pendulum swings hard with this one.

But mostly, those days of comparison are far behind me.

The peace and confidence I feel when I stick to my values, instead of those defined by the larger culture, is worth more to me than any material goods or the money to buy them.

So, what about you? How do you define success? What’s important to you? Do you fall under the spell of the messages that our consumerist, busy-busy society broadcasts?

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