What does ‘success’ REALLY mean?

If you’d asked me what success meant this time last year, I probably would have listed all the usual things:

Buying / owning a house
Career that pulls in enough money for the ‘extras’
Etc, etc, etc

But, when my world kind of dissolved at the end of 2018, and all of those things I *thought* I was working towards fell away, I was just left with me, myself, and I … no more security, very little money, no relationship, no more sharing of life’s burdens with another human, and a big pile of grief and physical/emotional burnout.

The word ‘survival’ accurately sums up 2019 for me – and survive I did.

And in that place of survival, my definition of success changed completely.

These days, success means to have joy in my daily life again.

That’s it.

None of the bells and whistles – those are icing on the cake, and, sure, things I still want.

*But they do not define my success*.

Today, my success is defined by knowing myself *so well*, knowing my highest values, and making sure those exact values show up in my life, on a daily basis.

So, what are my highest values?

Well, they are these four things:

The ocean

That’s to say, a ‘successful’ day for me is one where I derived joy from any of those things. A walk with my dog. An ocean swim or sandy beach walk – no matter how brief. A yoga class. And some of my writing done – and shared with the world.


Not every day looks like this. But if I have too many days in a row where my life doesn’t include the things that bring me joy? I’m re-evaluating.

The second equally important pillar of my ‘success’ is to be in amazing health. This, to me, means true vitality. No more burnout. No more ‘pushing through’ when it’s actually not necessary (and yes, I do understand that in some stages / phases of life we do have to push through).

What I have learnt, deeply, is that no ‘external’ success means anything, if I do not have my joy and my vitality.

This year, I had too many joy-less days. Too many days where I wondered what it was all for, and honestly thought that I’d prefer not to be here.

^^^ this is not ok.

Joy and vitality are the foundation of success.

You can have everything material in the world – but often, it’s not the material things that even bring us joy, and, too often we sacrifice our vitality in the pursuit of those external ‘successes’.

For many of us, it’s probably true that we need to re-evaluate what success even means.

Of course, we all need *money*. We all need to earn an income. I’m not saying that’s not true. Unless you have someone supporting you, or a nice pile of money coming in from somewhere else, work must be a big part of your life. Often, our work is what depletes us the most. But I still believe we usually have options. Including, re-prioritising and re-evaluating what you really *need* in order to reach your version of success.

Yoga. The ocean. Writing. Dogs.

Sure, I pay for my yoga and I pay for rent in an apartment that’s *close enough* to the beach to make it accessible. Writing doesn’t cost me a cent. Walking my dog? One of the greatest free pleasures of my life. (Though my gosh, pet insurance is expensive!).

My joy isn’t about materiality. It’s about what lights my soul up.

When we feel like we are just surviving, when we feel like there is no joy left, when our vitality is gone … these are ALL times and opportunities to re-evaluate.

I’m still so fragile from this year, but I’m working on getting my joy back. And realising what success actually means to me.

Of course, I desire ‘all of the things’. But, I know that if they are for me, they will come to me, all in good time. And, I want to be joyful and healthy when they arrive.

I have let go of so much of what I thought I ‘needed’ in order to be considered a ‘success’.

I now know, I am already a success. I am already worthy of that title – successful. Why? Because I’m a living, breathing human being, making the best of what life has delivered, and forging forward. And, so are you. Therefore, YOU are already a success. Nothing outside of you is necessary in order for you to KNOW that.

The focus: joy.

There is no success without joy.

How is the joy-factor in your life?
How is your vitality?
What is truly important to you?
What can you let go of so that you can lean in to more of those things, people, and whatever else, that light you up?

Get your joy back, amazing human. Don’t look to the external world to give it you. Find it for yourself. It’s there. You just have to give yourself permission to include it in your daily existence.

With love, 


Beth x



Share Your Thoughts

Join My Tribe!
Sign up for Weekly Wisdom straight to your inbox, and receive your copy of my eBook, The Slow Down Movement