Thursday, March 12, 2009


When I was a schoolgirl, success meant having good grades, scoring well in gym and sports, or doing a double pirouette in ballet, and finally being accepted in the college of my dreams.

Later on, success meant being popular, attracting the guy I wanted, dating, falling in love and marrying him.

Success meant studying hard and graduating with a B.S, M.S and later a Ph.D.

Success meant struggling to get a job, being disciplined and learning companies’ policies, coping with good or bad coworkers, working hard and competing.

Success meant juggling family life and career. Raising kids, being a good mother and wife, without missing a day at work. Providing quality time for the children while working late hours.

Success meant being there for my children when they were sick, hurt, in need of special help, protecting them from dangerous situations, giving them good examples, valuable advice without pushing them away with overwhelming expectations.

Am I describing my dreams? Or the reality I fought so hard to achieve?

And once I achieved the above, the goals changed.

Success is writing a book, winning contests, getting requests for partial or full manuscripts, overcoming rejection, persevering, landing a contract.

Success is being published, living through the release of a book, holding my book in my hands, garnering good reviews.
[In this picture, my mother is holdong my first book, TO LOVE A HERO]

Success is selling more and more books, receiving fans’ letters, autographing my books.

Is that enough to be successful and happy?

I don’t know.

What about helping others? Playing with children? Caring for older relatives? Contributing to friends’ happiness? Staying healthy or fighting an illness?

Who is more successful?

The Olympic champion with nine medals?

The CEO of a mega industry?

The firefighter who gives his life saving a kid?

The marines who defend our country?

The nuns who devote their life to pray or care for others?

As I evaluate my goals and achievements, I really wonder.

How do you spell success?

How do you rate success?


Mary Ricksen said...

Success to me is that I can go to sleep feeling I have had a good day.
Success is finishing things I started, success is making a new friend. Success is truly a state of mind which changes hopefully age appropriately. Success is accomplishing something you knew would be hard, but you did it anyways. Success is having a friend like you Mona.

Cindy K. Green said...

Success is balancing everything in my life and not neglecting anything. If I can accomplish that I'd be happy. :)

Beth Trissel said...

What a wonderful post, Mona. Success is that elusive dream always 'out there' somewhere. But joy is in the here and now, savoring those simple pleasures, and friends, family, and feeling I've made worthwhile accomplishments.

Mona Risk said...

Mary, you gave us beautiful definitions for the word success.Thank you for calling me your friend.

Mona Risk said...

Cindy, balancing is wonderful but soooo difficult. I am a failure at balancing things.

Mona Risk said...

Beth, your comment brough to my mind something my father said: happiness is being content with what we have, but ambition is never being satisfied with what we have and always pushing our goals farther.

Fran Lee's Romance Blog said...

Success is making it through one day...and having touched one life in a good way...having spread a kind word...a friendly gesture...a genuine smile of affection for another human being. It is reaching out and touching one hand...making one person feel needed and appreciated...offering help to one person who needs it desperately, even if they won't admit they needed you. Success is...being.

Susan Macatee said...

That's a hard question, Mona. I guess to me it's accomplishing what I want and need to do, balancing my writing career with running my home business and making sure my family has a comfortable home to live in.

Emma Lai said...

Success is such a difficult concept to measure and depends on so many different factors.

For family...success is me knowing that each and every member knows I love them and appreciate them.

For engineering career...success was measured by promotions and raises.

For graduate school...success was making the highest grades possible.

For marriage...success is supporting my husband in all his endeavors and receiving the same in kind.

For writing...well I haven't quite figured out the standard, but to borrow from fellow author Ann Campbell...if I can provide a good Christmas for my family and maybe a nice family vacation then I'll be happy.

Skhye said...

Aw, the timeless question once again... What is the meaning of life? I was in grad school riding down the freeway with my husband when at truck pulled onto the freeway in front of us. The truck was pulling two jetskis. I don't remember why I was in a funk. But I tend to be deep. And we were discussing college and the future. So, I asked him what comes after grad school. Were we supposed to buy jetskis and drive them places? My husband replied, "That's what some people do." Ugh! Success is relative in any situation. I think goals are what count.

Regina Carlysle said...

There was a time when I measured success as you did. Pretty much to a "T". Maybe I'm getting older and look at things differently but I'm already a success. My kids are grown, happy and healthy and I'm living my dream. In my book, that's success.

Mona Risk said...

Thank you Fran, Susan, Emma Lai, Skhye, Regina for giving me more good defintions of success.

Fran said: offering help to one person who needs it desperately--
What a great goal. Now that my kids are grown up and successfully independant, I will concentrate on making people happy around me.

Susan: I tried balancing, it doesn't work for me. I always give my hundred and one percent to everything I want to achieve.

Emma Lai, you are doing the right thing to be successful.

Skhye, how true. Goals are what counts.

As you said it Regina, we are already successful. Cheers.

Scarlet Pumpernickel said...

Success comes in degrees, shades and styles. Different for everyone, yet still it holds that same heart warming, soul filling satisfaction of achieving whatever we set out to do. Over the years I've learned to savor and celebrate the little successes along the way. They might not mean much to others, but to me they mean the world.