Lessons in success

I used to think a successful day was one where I’d changed the lives of my clients by empowering them and blowing their minds with kick-ass information literacy skills. Getting a large group of highly qualified medical professionals to learn how to effectively and efficiently locate quality information which I had also taught them how to critically evaluate was pretty high on my list of good ways to spend my day.

Then my successful day was one where I’d taught my daughter to feed herself, or sit up, or count or made her laugh. Being the best mum I could be and giving my daughter the best start in life was my top priority

Then success was a day where I had played the organ and sung at a funeral and my music had touched the hearts of the mourners, bringing them peace but also closer to God and comforted in their loss.

You get the idea. Success is relative.

Post-stroke, a successful day might be getting out of bed, showering myself, getting dressed, getting my own breakfast and lunch…and that would be about it. Any more than that is really a little greedy.

In the past week or two I have had fewer and fewer of those successful days. I’m starting to count a successful day as one where bodily fluids behave themselves.

It’s taken me far too long to start thinking about this but perhaps I shouldn’t be placing so much worth on being successful. Or I should change my idea of what “Success” means. Perhaps it should be addressing questions like “Was I kind to myself and others today?” “Did I smile or give someone else reason to smile?” Perhaps success is just being a good person.

Perhaps today was a successful day.

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2 Responses to Lessons in success

  1. Rebecca says:

    Hi Fiona,

    I’m a lurker…and your post today has prompted me to share a poem (attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson) that I thought you might also like. I found this once on a card and I have it pinned to my wall for days when I am feeling less than successful – 260 odd adolescents a fortnight will do that to you 😉

    What is Success
    as attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

    To laugh often and love much;
    To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
    To earn the approval of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
    To appreciate beauty;
    To find the best in others;
    To give of one’s self;
    To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
    To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;
    To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived…
    This is to have succeeded.

    I wish you all the best on your road to recovery, kindness to yourself and that even on your bad days, you are indeed a success because of the things you have achieved in the past and all of the many kindnesses you have shown to others.


  2. I like every one of those successes you related — from the IL classes to just each day that you get out of bed — each so valuable and worth acknowledging in its own right. I like your approach and especially that, in the space you’ve found yourself in at the moment, you are still looking at what kindness you can bring to the world. Just writing about that and sharing those thoughts for the reader to think on is also a contribution greater then you may appreciate.

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