According to Miriam Webster, success is “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame.” This is definitely not my definition of success. Simply put, my definition of success is honoring God and being able to live the life He wants me to live. Difficult, yes, and quite mystical if you don’t believe in God but I do and I believe that every single part of my life happens for a reason – mistakes and struggles and problems and all – only because God has a bigger and amazing plan for me (Jer. 29:11). I won’t always understand the ‘why’ but I choose to just simply trust Him instead (Prov. 3:5-6).
On the less ‘serious’ side, I acknowledge the fact that God has given me so much and that I guess for some people, I can be placed under the ‘successful’ category. But you know how society, your parents and even the church tell you that you’re destined to be someone big, like a leader or a world-changer, and/or be rockstar wealthy and known amongst the nations? I’m not one of those. I don’t want to be one of those. Can’t I just be a follower, one of those in the background, a simple passer-by? I know that’s what I want, unlike others who aim for fame and fortune, which is also ok if that’s what you dream of.
Aside from that fact, there are other ‘qualities’ that I have that aren’t exactly found in most ‘worldly’ successful people. I know I won’t be successful as defined by the world simply because:
1. I suck at networking. You know how they say that success is mostly based on who you know, therefore go and make friends with all the right people? Well, I am not a social butterfly. I’m more like a caterpillar that doesn’t reach maturity. Haha! I know of some people who can easily make friends. Ma-boka, ma-chika, ma-PR. I’m not like that (which is why I left Channel 2’s PR team). You know the type: “Hi. I’m Jacob and let’s be friends forever” and then they actually do stay friends forever. And it’s not that they’re even trying. It’s just that they are naturally friendly and have no problems in making the first move to getting to know you. I’m not like that. Sure, I can be friendly, I’ll small talk with you if need be but I don’t usually go out of the way just to network with officemates or bosses or whoever for “future use.”
2. I do not want power. Or responsibilities, for that matter. Spidey’s uncle was right in saying that “With great power comes great responsibility” or vice versa. I don’t want that. If I can help it, all I want is a simple life with the least number of complications. I’m not saying I am not responsible or that I can’t take on more roles. But I have no problem in simply following the leader or being part of a large group or living a simple, unexciting life.
3. I’d rather be in the background. Some people love being in the spotlight. I’m more of the ‘stay behind the shadows’ type of gal. Haha! Even at our church ministry, when they find out I signed up for the admin ministry which basically does everything behind-the-scenes, they would be surprised and say that I belong to the ushering team, those who are the frontliners during service. But no, I don’t want to be under the public eye (naks, feeling artista). I changed to this kind of person years ago, which in effect resulted in me no longer posting too much photos or info on social media as well as not divulging my life to acquaintances.
4. I do not kiss ass. I KICK ass, yes, but I’m no sucker. I don’t like lying. Some people have a talent for this. The type who easily praises their boss or colleague, expecting for a favor like a promotion or raise, even though they know their praise is not true. Sipsip, in Tagalog. I could never do that. I don’t easily give out compliments because when I do compliment or praise someone, I actually mean it. When I say you’re kind or amazing or pretty or talented, I really do mean it. I don’t give my words away. One time, my boss asked me if I was impressed with his presentation. I wasn’t but I couldn’t tell that to him, now could I? Instead of lying just to save my skin or get brownie points from him, I just said, “I think you and Mr. B make a great team.” Still a compliment and entirely true. I couldn’t bear kissing his ass just because he was my boss.
5. I do not aim to accumulate earthly things. I know what you’re thinking. What about all those bags and shoes and clothes and make-up that I keep on buying? Let’s just say there is such a thing as balance. As I always mention, I buy stuff not only because I want them, but also because I need them or they make me feel good about myself (case in point: make-up). And I choose those made of quality over mediocre items for its long term usage. I don’t plan on having 10 mansions, I don’t even want one mansion. I actually want to live in a bungalow with maybe maximum of 3 rooms and 2 baths. I don’t even want my own car (because I hate driving. Haha). I use my crappy phone until it’s already unusable. And so on and so forth. Because at the end of our life, we can’t bring all these earthly things to heaven or wherever you think you are going. I set my eyes on the more important things like family, friends and my relationship with God. Why should material things matter when all your relationships are crappy? Not easy to do but as I always say, I’m a work in progress.
6. I am an advocate of work-life balance. I’m blessed to work in an organization that encourages this. I’m glad that I can leave work on time so I can go to the gym or have dinner with friends or have fellowship with my sisters in Christ. But I think generally, those who just work, work, work, work are the ones preferred by the bosses, hence, they are the ones given promotions and raises. Though I want to level-up in my career somehow, I would never compromise my health or relationships for it. I’ve done that before during my Channel 2 days but where did it get me? I’d do overtime work for the extra pay but my health suffered. I’d cover events during the weekends but skipped on family time. What’s the point of that? I won’t be useful to God if I’m always sick and my work won’t love me the way my relationships do. As I said, I’m keeping my eyes on the heavenly prize. But not to misunderstand me. I don’t necessarily think that those who work overtime or over the weekends are bad because I know some of them really do enjoy working that much. Some people are wired to be workaholics, I guess. It’s just that it’s not for me.
7. I don’t believe that work is everything. Some people obsess over their work to the point that they get extremely upset or depressed if things don’t go their way. Some work hard for their jobs and building their careers that they would do anything to keep it, even compromise their integrity and belief. I am not one to do that. I acknowledge the fact that I work because (i) God put me here and ultimately, He is my boss (Col. 3:23-24); (ii) we are called to work and be useful in our society (2 Thess. 3:10-13); (iii) my work is simply a means for me to bless others (Eph. 4:28) as well as enjoy life (Eccl. 3:12-13); and (iv) my work is a form of worship to Him (Col. 3:17).
I’m pretty sure there are other reasons why I won’t be “successful” but these are the ones that I could think of. All in all, I don’t think I’ll ever fit the ‘successful woman’ as defined by the world. But I do believe I’m successful in my own way. Hopefully I can post a list of those too.