abundance, gratefulness

what even is success?

defining success; a conversation topic taken from Shameless Podcast’s In Conversation episodes

when i was young, i was convinced that money is what makes people successful. that driving a flash car, travelling often, boasting diamond necklaces and going home to a big, beautiful house was not just the epitome of success; it was the mere definition of it. of course, as i grew up and began working for my own money, reality slapped me in the face. i realised success and living a lavish lifestyle have nothing in common. in fact, they hardly tie into each other at all. 

my first career has undeniably reshaped success to me. because of hospitality, i am a more grounded, patient, humorous and loyal human than that naive teen who refused to place success alongside anything else other than wealth. because of my co-workers, i now understand that achieving success is impossible without wholesome people in my life. 

the definition of success is fluid and debatable; a constant evolving and morphing concept that is always defined slightly differently by each human. 

so, at this point in my young 20’s, success is being a wholesome human. a grateful human. a growing human. my success is mirrored in the people around me. in the unbelievable humans who i luckily have in my life, and the not-so-great humans who i have been brave enough to let go of. success is learning to be proud of myself, a little more each day. it’s understanding that contentment is invaluable to a peaceful life, and that money does not promise fulfilment. 

success is growth but it’s also being able to stop and sit in the present, and open up the past when needed.

Zara and Michelle from Shameless Podcast have one very simply, yet very important, question that they ask each guest:

How do you define success in your own life?

below i’ve compiled a few responses from some of my favourite In Conversation guests:

“being happy wherever i am.

and i can. there are fleeting moments of extreme amounts of joy and euphoria. feeling euphoric in myself and feeling like i’m doing something that is so in line with who i am. like all the dots of me feel connected. that’s happiness to me.” – Florence Given

“that feeling of empowerment when you’re waking up everyday.

thinking ‘i have control over my life’. i wake up and i’m happy and i’m healthy. i love what i do for work . i love my friends. success is feeling empowered in yourself and feeling in control of your emotions and your life.” – Bella Varelis

“success is not always being tied up in my work and instead nurturing the part of myself that isn’t my work.

for a long time, i had the answer that success to me is being fulfilled. because you can control fulfilment but you can’t control happiness. you can control the stuff you put in your life. you can control how much your job fulfils you. and you can control the people around you that fulfil you. But I realised that I was still defining fulfilment by work. because i often felt most fulfilled by work. who am i if not for the person at work? so what i think success is right now is watering my two different identities – work and home – and keeping them separate.” – Zara McDonald

“using my voice.

to stand up for what i believe in. using my voice to show up and not feel like i need to shut up. i am a loud woman. i am a passionate woman. and success is embracing those things, not pushing back on it.” – Michelle Andrews


i’ve been every other kind of successful. i’ve been famous, thin. i’ve had all the ‘it girl’ shit going on. i’ve lived all the lives you’re supposed to live in the magazines. i’ve had all the fancy expensive clothes. it was all bullshit. i now know that striving towards mental health and content and gratitude is the end goal. contentment, gratitude and happiness are everything to me now.” – Jameela Jamil

“pursuing the things you believe in and seeing them translate into action.

but it’s also not just about what you do in the world but what you learn from the world.” – Julia Gillard

“success is knowing that you’re never really done growing.

if you’re constantly in a space of questioning, and questioning the things inside of yourself, then you’re going to be growing.” – Aisha Dee

now, it’s your turn. what is success to you my wonderful reader?

with a honey-soaked heart,


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