• Carol Hand
  • Define Success by Your Own Measuring Stick
Define Success by Your Own Measuring Stick
Written by
Carol Hand
March 2012
Written by
Carol Hand
March 2012

You define success by your own measuring stick, which is tightly linked to your happiness. What makes you feel successful and happy? Based on my own observations during a recent 10 weeks of group therapy, I can tell you that everyone defines and measures success differently. For some people, the seemingly simple act of getting themselves out of bed and out the door in the morning is a huge break-through and success for them. For others, it is the a simple act of driving a car across town. One individual had suffered from nightmares for 40 years, and after six week in this group she stopped having them. Each of these things were big achievements for those struggling with them. You could see the pride and happiness radiating from them as they told their stories of accomplishments.




I must admit that when I began the group my thoughts were something like, "Wow, I don't know that I belong here. I've already overcome a lot of these seemingly simple struggles. These are people that are still in the early stages of healing from their traumas." However, I recognize that everyone is in a different stage of their life and their healing. I committed to the 10 weeks to learn some tools to manage anxiety. I wasn't struggling to get out of bed, or drive a car, but I learned a lot not only from the lessons, but from those with seemingly simple struggles. I remember being in the stages these people were struggling to get through. My hope is that they see the same pride and happiness in themselves that I saw as they announced their big achievements to the group. I saw success in their eyes, and heard it in their voice. My hope is that they continue progressing as I have.




I've learned that making small goals in the short-run leads to success and happiness in the long-run. I define my success by my ability to accomplish the small goals. I can see from the stories I've heard during my days in group therapy, and my own story that accomplishing small goals leads to bigger success. I doubt successful marathon runners just one day put the chips down, hop off the couch, and finish a marathon in one fell swoop. No, they walk before they run, they run short distances that then lead to running longer distances until they are capable of running full marathons.




Make some small goals, be happy with were you're at, and don't let an outsider's definition of success and happiness make you feel like you don't measure up. Odds are that they measure their success and happiness in a much different way. A less experienced writer may find great happiness in writing an outline, a paragraph, or a random blog post. It's accomplishing those little goals that lead to happiness, more self-confidence, and bigger successes in the long-run. Don't be afraid to start small, and don't care too much what other people think of your small goals. In the end, the only thing that matters is your own personal fulfillment and happiness.

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  • Ankhseojhal

    Dear Carol ! I like your article and I love your work. Small goals, achievements leads to bigger achievements and in result we gain bigger happiness. I am new here still watching what others do here and what can be done ultimately. I am not a native English speaker sometimes I get difficulty in perceiving others and sometimes I feel great problem in expressing my thoughts properly but I am not loosing heart, hope one day I will get over it and be able to produce a masterpiece in writing. Wish you best of luck.