how do you define success?

At 35, I think I've finally earned the right to call myself a "grown-up." At least it's taken me this long to feel like one. And there are days I still have my doubts. I spent my 20's trying to figure out what success really meant to me... how it looked, how it felt, what I should be doing when. Oh, the dreaded success deadline. I was always in a rush, feeling like I needed to accomplish certain things in a certain time frame.

Six years ago, I left the race behind. I walked out the doors of my job, determined to redefine myself and my career. Since then my professional life has been a crooked path... I became a certified personal fitness trainer, I started a marketing business, I became a certified life coach.

Sometimes I hear my inner critic (who looks a lot like a corporate executive, squinting at my resume with a cocked eyebrow) saying, "Wow, you sure have done a lot of different things. It looks like you can't make up your mind." But I know that's only half the story.

Here's the other half, the part I'm finally ready to claim, proudly: I've learned so many valuable things along the way. I have met amazing people. I have done things I never imagined I'd be able to do (like run my own business and do the taxes!) Each time I did something new, I gave it my all. And each time, I arrived at a crossroads-- a resting place where I felt compelled to evaluate my motives and reassess what I truly wanted out of life. Over time, as I continued to "grow up", I found that it was becoming easier to make authentic choices, choices that reflected the real reasons I left my career six years ago.

I appreciate this quote from author Anne Lamott, "You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren't. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don't think your way into becoming yourself."