Measuring Your Own Success

In my family’s recent quarantine-induced cleaning-spree, we stumbled across my career portfolio, a project I had to complete weeks before my high school graduation. Though I had no idea of its whereabouts, I’ve given it some thought through the years and have bitter-sweet feelings about it. Despite its leather(ish) cover and organized contents, it has never been in the hands of a future employer.

With a little hesitation, I began sorting through it. On top were a few extra copies of a recommendation letter one of my favorite teachers had penned. Again fighting back disappointment, I read it and was surprised by its effect on me. While I haven’t needed to give it to the publishers with whom I’ve worked, I’ve striven to live up to all his commendations without even remembering them.

I found the same true with another letter, which ironically boasted my public speaking ability, a skill I didn’t expect to use but do.  Leafing through the rest, I continued to see that I have accomplished many of the elements of the work I set out to do, even if it’s not the exact picture. In fact, I guess you might say I surpassed that. Because I was uncertain of my future in writing, I gave my desired profession the vague title of “At-Home Business.” As it’s turned out, I ended up with my secret dream career…but without the pay I’d hoped to net!

It taught me that I couldn’t base my success off of what others have or haven’t seen. Though I haven’t had the chance to dress up in a chic skirt suit and hand over my spiffy portfolio to an interviewer, I’ve met those goals inside it. To me, knowing that for myself means even more than hearing it from an employer.

In The True Golden Standard, I discussed the value of having higher standards for yourself than anyone else does. If you do that, success is sure to follow. Even so, your judgement can get clouded because others may have, not necessarily higher standards, but different ones. I struggled with that coming out of high school, when I chose not to pursue higher education. With my grades, I can understand why many saw such as a missed opportunity, but it didn’t fit into my view of the life I wanted to pursue. The feedback I received, however, did make me question if I could find success.

That’s where, in my opinion, you have to factor in your circumstances to your measuring stick of success. We all have our own challenges and have to maintain a realistic outlook. This isn’t to say we should put limits on ourselves. Rather, we need to realize we might not be able to take on the same ventures others can. Otherwise, you could find yourself always feeling like a failure.

I’d be remiss not to mention the class of 2020 in line with this theme. Like we all know, Covid-19 has prevented most seniors from enjoying these last months at school and celebrating their achievements in the traditional way. While it’s a sure disappointment, don’t let the lack of applause and in-person well-wishes take anything away from your accomplishments, graduates. There’ll sadly be a number of occasions where you won’t get the acknowledgement you deserve. Hold onto your knowledge that you put in the work and use that to springboard you into future successes.


6 thoughts on “Measuring Your Own Success

  1. Hello Karina,

    Thank you! I feel so good after reading your article!
    I am so happy to connect with you. I have followed your blog, and I must say you are doing a fantastic job.

    Kiran Kandel

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Mention not! 🙂
        Keep your articles coming!
        May I ask you for a small favor? If you could spare a minute of your time to look at my blog and provide some feedback, it would be invaluable to me. Thank you very much.

        Liked by 1 person

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