“Stay in your own movie” – Devon Franklin
I asked my teenage daughter, “How do you measure success?” Her response was uplifing as it was comforting for me, “If I’m where I want to be in my life – that is success. Though, many look to social media as a poster boy to define individual success, I refuse to do the same.”
Recalling how impressionable I was as a younger woman, I know how easy it is to get brainwashed into going along with the majority. Modern society dangles the lives of celebrities like a pendant hypnotizing us into thinking their lives represent real success. We buff appearances, conversations and stories in order to compete with others as we race one another to measure up. We compare what we have against everyone else to determine our level of success. Growing into my own skin has helped me recreate my definition of success. Understanding it doesn’t have to align or prove anything to anyone else.
Many people influenced by print and media are convinced that bigger is better. We want the grandest diamond, the house and luxurious car. So, it’s not hard to believe we rate personal success using celebrity lifestyles as a ruler. Hashtag #relationshipgoals, #money, #success? The bar being set is impractical and unreasonably high. No wonder when fame, wealth or finding a perfect mate doesn’t materialize we perceive it as falling short in life’s journey. Feelings of failure sneak into the subconscious. A ride down this slide persuades some to act a part in a movie avoiding looking within for their own meaning.
The pressure of playing a game of comparison is unfair. It can drive anyone to insecurity purgatory. I spent a good part of life trying to mimic the model imposed by society. Read from a similar script as millions of other actors around the world do every day. Growing up programmed to think you need to be like everyone else that came before to arrive at true success.
Time is evolving but in certain aspects change is not happening fast enough. The fantasy continues to take us on a road of falsehood unless we choose to stop and rethink. We can look to the future hoping it won’t be necessary to play a version of ourselves to appeal to the masses. Ultimately, you have the power to define your wins, as you set goals.
One of the most important lessons to learn is measure success with a personal ruler. The best thing you can do for yourself is to see the greatness in creating your own story. Eliminate shame, guilt or the idea that life has to mirror anyone else’s. It does not, it comes down to what you believe about success as a whole.
Your movie is as unique as you. Live and own your experiences. Society may define success by overall wealth accumulated. However, it’s up to you to find the meaning of it in your life.
My measure of success is connected to how I make people feel, as well as, the way I influence and care for my daughter. These things are probably not quantitative in the classic sense. But the returns can be seen and felt, producing moments never forgotten. In the grand scheme of things that type of success is the way you can leave a permanent mark. Long after you are gone, what people remember is how you touched their lives.
Success and worth behind it does not translate into dollars, material goods or being the half of the next power couple. Prosperity isn’t achieved in a match of “Whose is bigger?” The meaning of it is as different to each individual as their journey to attain it.
The joy of success begins when you own who you are while living on your terms. Play out your movie as you dreamed without fear of what rating the audience will leave in the reviews.
I’m playing the biggest part of my life at this very moment – the role of myself. Write your own screenplay. I bet it’s not only interesting, it will serve to empower other women to do things their way and be stronger for it. It might offer others the courage to dictate their own picture of success.
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