How I redefined success…

“Success” is the scariest word in my dictionary. Mainly because it’s so unpredictable and its definition keeps changing through the course. There was a time when I was obsessed with stories of successful people; those explaining their journey of struggle leading to success. I always panicked while reading such stories. My life was always normal. I never really had that many hardships. I was basically happy every day. Instead of being happy about being happy throughout, I used to doubt my ability to be successful in life. I knew for a fact that success did not come without experiencing failures. What; really? So then one fine day I sat down to retrace my journey so far.

I remember the first time in second grade when we had an oratorical competition at school. I was a very shy girl and an introvert too. It was so hard for me to start a conversation with anyone. I always preferred keeping to myself in one corner of the classroom. Talking was the hardest thing for me those days. And moreover I had horrible stage fright back then. I was always a thinker. (I still think a lot. Let me put that to perspective. I am that girl who thinks of thousand better ways to make a movie while watching the first scene. I can literally think and dream about things while watching it shape through its natural course. This world is an interesting place in my head.) Anyway, back to the story. The topic of the speech was “India of my dreams”. I got super excited with the topic as it was something I had always thought about. So without a second thought I gave my name for the competition. I started preparing for my speech. “India of my dreams is a land with luscious green bushes and beautiful blue seas.” ( Again, I was in my second grade). I penned down all my thoughts and practiced for my first ever speech in front of people. I was quite confident because I knew what I had to say. But.. when the moment arrived, I shook with fear. All I could say was India of my drea…. I paused, I freaked out. I stood there for five minutes starring at the audience. I said “Thank you” and walked away. The other kids laughed at me. I knew, that day, that I made a fool of myself and decided that I would never ever in my life stand in front of people and talk. Days passed. I successfully refrained myself from giving speeches or talking in front of a crowd. I was still reserved.

I was in the ninth grade. It was the day my English teacher distributed our answer sheets. Before she started giving away our papers she called out my name to see who I was. I thought I was the only one who failed in the paper. Feeling embarrassed I raised my hands. She asked me to step forward and told the entire class that I wrote the most creative essay she had ever read. That second my adrenaline gushed up with force. “Did I hear it right?” I thought to myself. Of course I did!! My English was not that great back then but I was appreciated for my thought process and creativity. I was motivated to concentrate on my choice of words. I knew I had to work on my stage fright and started participating in a lot of events and competitions. I slowly started working on my vocabulary. I took my own sweet time. I knew it was not a change to be done overnight; it had to be embraced as a behavior.

Today I am a Technical Communication Executive. I train people on presentation skills. I handle classes and host events in my organization. I have succeeded in breaking my limitation. I did it slow and steady and reached a point where I can confidently do something that I never imagined doing.

I call this success; the fact that I had the courage to break that fear and learn on my own. The fact that I constantly patted my own shoulders and grew up to this point. It might not seem like a big deal to anyone but me. I might not be called a successful person because of this story, I don’t want to be called one already; I still have miles to go and a lot of barriers to break. Somewhere inside, my intuition says that I am going in the right direction and that, at the end, the journey will only matter and not whether I am successful or not. I might not be successful at the end but I will definitely be satisfied. There is a difference to be noted, “ Success is reaching the finish line and satisfaction is enjoying the run”. I prefer the latter. Be it success or failure, I want my life to be a beautiful story with a lot of learning. I want to look back and have a wide smile. That’s what success means to me — satisfaction.