I’ve been watching “Emily in Paris” on Netflix and there was a line that stood out to me: “You live to work, we work to live,” a French person told Emily, his American colleague. Whether it’s success in your career or your life, we’re all influenced by where we grew up, our culture, and the influences of the people you surround yourself with. 

I used to think work success meant working at the same company for decades, slowly moving up that corporate ladder, and then retiring with some sort of retirement fund. It’s what my dad does, what American culture dictates, what I saw demonstrated on the TV screen. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as it is what you want to do.

For me, I had to redefine success. Once the basic needs were met (rent, having a place to live, etc.), I was able to stretch my dreams. Some people want to make just enough money to get by and live the life that they want. Others want all the material things. 

Success to me in work money is being able to make enough to sustain the basic needs and also enjoy interests/hobbies like traveling, trying out restaurants, and gardening. Business success does NOT include expanding my business to an agency, hiring employees, or making millions of dollars. 

Success to me in work specifically is constantly evolving. I want to make an impact on the current industry I’m in, cultivate and earn some sort of respect through my work, give back to the communities that have supported me, and mostly enjoy whatever it is I am working on. 

As a business or as someone looking at their career, I hope someone has told you that it’s ok to be where you’re at. Maybe where you’re at right now is making you happy. Maybe having one location is perfect. Not every marketing campaign has to drive sales. Success could be defined as increased brand exposure or engagement or positive sentiment. Success could also be that you were able to execute everything in the campaign you had planned.

The American work mentality is absolutely work all of the hours all of the time and then you can rest during retirement. I do think people can get into a rut but that’s the perfect time to redefine success. How much of your definition of success involves your work and how much of that dictates your life?