I must admit success to me use to mean something entirely different. I hadn't reached what I thought was success, but I assumed it would look like the right car, the right house, or the right amount of cash in the bank. As it turns out I don't care about those things as much anymore, and I've really come to appreciate some of the more subtle things success can buy. Here are my top ones:
1. Not waking up to an alarm clock - Oh my god this one is great. What's funny is I'm still waking up at the same time basically, sometimes earlier (around 6:30-7:00). Only now there is nobody irritated if I'm late. There's no stress if I got a late start or if something went wrong. It has brought me more peace in the mornings than I can tell you.
2. Not dreading Monday morning - I think we've all had the job that makes Sunday nights very stressful. That feeling of not wanting to go back to work in the morning. That feeling of "another work week" filled with the same old everything. The same boring routine, the same exact hours, it sucks! In the last 5 years I've transitioned in my work where I LOVE getting to work. It is filled with people I love, working on projects that matter, doing great things for the world. This is a deep satisfaction that's hard to put into words. Everyone should strive for this. OH! One downside of having a great job, working with great people... weekends aren't as sweet when you love your job. lol
3. Not being in debt - So this is a work in progress but I can already feel the satisfaction. We are two months away from being totally out of debt (minus our house). My wife and I have knocked out credit cards, school debts, car loans, etc. It feels SO GOOD owning our stuff and mastering your money. I never thought I would reach this point but we committed to Dave Ramsey's debt snowball early last year and we've mastered the discipline. Surprisingly after a few months it wasn't that hard. It feels SO POWERFUL! Mast your money or it will master you.
4. More weeks of vacation - This one comes with a hitch, but not a bad one. Basically I can take more vacations and my schedule is more flexible now that I am in a more leadership type roll. Everyone should strive to master the art of delegation and working through people. The first step is to build a growing business. The second step is to take on so much work you are about to explode. The third step is to begin hiring and delegating so you don't collapse from exhaustion. The last step is to get your business running well without you (which is a very scary feeling) but if you learn to hire right and trust people this is totally possible. Then your schedule will be much more flexible and you will have more vacation time. AWESOME! The one catch with more vacation time is that when you're in the office you'll be running like a race horse with non-stop leadership stuff. It's fun though.
I wrote this post to get people thinking about what success really means, and what will feel the most satisfying. Trust me, it's not the cars or the house or the toys, it's the small freedom things.