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June 2010

How to measure Success

Art People measure success in many ways. Often, in our culture, it is related to how much money we make, or what kind of prestige we have, or the respect we've earned (i.e. our standing in the community with which we associate ourselves). Success is often attached to the approval of other.

But is that really success?

Can't we measure our success ourselves? Can't we measure success by our own yardstick?

If we weren’t influenced by the standards of others, what would we do to know that we had succeeded? How would we know that we’d "made it"?

I think we’d know it by the joy we feel, by the pleasure we’d have in any given moment and by the freedom we’d experience in our lives. At least that’s what I consider success. It doesn’t have to be something lasting. Like anything, our successes are fleeting but that doesn’t make them any less precious.

For example, I had a relationship once (of the traditional variety) that ended. But I don’t believe that the fact that a marriage ends constitutes an unsuccessful relationship…just a short one. I don’t think the length of a relationship is an accurate measure of its success. Yet, many people said, with great empathy, when it ended -  “I guess it wasn’t meant to be,” I disagree... it was a success, it just wasn’t meant to be -- forever.

If, for the majority of time we were in that relationship, we successfully created an arena for love and tenderness; a place that was safe and warm; moments of sheer joy of our shared experience. So, how can it not have been a success?

Why because it doesn’t last beyond a moment, do we dismiss something of value in our lives as not successful?

People associate being successful in business with making a certain amount of money or achieving a certain status in the corporate world. Yet, some of the most successful people I know are those that follow their hearts. They choose to work for themselves, create their own work or live life without the security of a steady job.

I’ve had success in a conventional job; a career that put me in a well-respected position in the field that I chose. I won’t argue that I was not successful. But that success was not due to my attaining a level of status it was due to the fact that, in that line of work, I connect with people and was moved.

Yet, at the end of the day, I feel that I’ve achieved more success now since left that world and entered one that was closer to my spirit. And though I may make less money as a creative (and definitely have less prestige), the level of gratification is ten fold in my life. And so, I believe, is my level of success.

No one but you can truly measure your success. So, take a moment and stop trying to live up to what we’ve all been told makes us worthy, and measure your success by your bliss.

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Sometimes I can still here him laugh. Sometimes I still talk to him, sharing my news and mulling over struggles in my life. When I'm uncertain about something, I ask him what to do. I know that he understands me, wants me happy and knows me. And talking to him gives me some peace when I don't have any.

But I miss being able to laugh with him. And hear his voice. And touch him. And dance with him. Even though he's always with me, he always just out of reach...and always will be.



My dear sweet Jason, passed away 10 years ago today. And although I've become accustom to him being gone...he has never left me.

Over this past decade, I've seen him, heard him, felt him move through the room - but still I miss him, every day. And every day I wish I had just 5 more moments to share with him the way we could before he died.

If I had those 5 moments -- I would thank him, and laugh with him, and cry with him, and kiss him. So I do that now in the only way I can...with my heart and my remembrances of him.  

Jason Nabeta will live forever in my memory and in my heart.

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