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Updated on September 9, 2013

What Is Success

Success….what is it, and how do you really know you have achieved it. Most people know when they are successful in life. They FEEL it. I am not referring to career success, climbing the corporate ladder, so to speak. I am speaking of the kind of success that revolves around strength of character, honest values, family togetherness, humor, and love.

Career success is easily gauged. You can sense your value to the company, look at your paycheck, your 401K, bank accounts, the property you own, the number of employees that depend on you. You know that you have achieved most of what you worked so hard for in life.

But one important item gets overlooked so often when we concentrate so hard on our careers….Time! Time is a fleeting thing. Just ask any elderly person. Where did the time go?!

I would like to relate a personal reflection in this respect. I have a family. I HAD a career. After almost three decades at the same company, it closed its doors. At 58 years old, I found myself unemployed for the first time in my life. At first, I did not think too much of it. Oh, I was upset. But, I have long ago learned to take the hardships of life in stride and work through them. Close one door; open another, so to speak. But what I was about to learn was something that I did not expect.

While I was employed, I had many friends. Once unemployed, most of these friends turned out to be just fleeting acquaintances. They appeared to no longer have a vested interest in your friendship. In other words, they were never really friends at all. Life goes on, so they say.

As I continued on my job searching trek of finding meaningful occupation, I also realized how my daughter was suddenly all grown up! Oh, during my ‘career’, I was home every night and weekends, but it seems that when you are mentally occupied with your career, time slips by very rapidly and you never fully engage yourself in what life is really all about….FAMILY!

I tried to reach a point in my career where I felt that I could relax a bit and spend more time with my family, only to discover that I had missed so many important moments, and that they have also learned to live their lives independent of me. This is when I realized that this is not exactly what I had envisioned. Yes, I know what I was doing was important in providing for my family. But, I also wanted to share those certain moments in their life…. those little things that produce those valuable memories. Let’s face it, when you are older, will you remember those job related incidents that happened twenty years ago, or your children’s playful laughter when they were young?

As I continue my quest to resume my career, I find that I am thankful for the time spent unemployed. I know this may be contrary to many other stories of the unemployed populace, but I look at it as a gift. A gift of time. Time to talk to my wife and daughter on a daily basis about everything and nothing. Time to learn my daughter’s everyday issues, to be there for her, whether she needs me or not. Time to be fully engaged mentally in their life, not my career.

Oh, I do look forward to resuming my career. But, I will do so with a different outlook. I have learned, or maybe ‘re-learned’, the true definition of success in life….Time Management! Not just in your job, but in your life. You must try to capture every moment you can, because once it’s gone, it will never return. Then, possibly, in my golden years, I can look back and feel my life was a success.

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