What Is Success?

Success means different things to different people… or it should anyway, but more specifically, success seems to be almost exclusively tied with fame or fortune – and more importantly, both, without many variables in between.

But is success really that clear-cut and uncompromising? If it were based solely on fame and fortune, then would you consider the cast of Jersey Shore, for example, to be successful? Usually success is determined by a talent and/or skill and pursuing a dream diligently through hard work, passion, and dedication. Obviously from an outside perspective, the thought of Snooki being successful for basically doing nothing, seems absurd. But what if, however, HER goal in life was to be on a reality TV show and have fame and fortune by being a “Guidette”? Then her personal goal is met and she is a success. And since, to the rest of the world, fame and fortune together equal the highest level of success, she wins there too.

But what about smaller personal successes, like quitting smoking for instance? Or being a good parent, daughter, friend, or sister? Those are valued goals, right? So why does the world as a whole, disregard those types of little successes in life as ordinary and place such a high value on less extraordinary successes like fame and fortune?

Do you have to make money at the goal or passion you are pursuing in order for it to be considered a success?

When I was in my 20′s and dealing with pretty gripping anxiety and agoraphobia, I felt like a complete failure. I had tried my hand at a number of jobs and careers and while I had some success with each, I was not happy. I hadn’t found that one thing I could call my own, and that was a very important goal for me throughout my life.

Back then I knew I’d be a mom “someday” and was so looking forward to raising a family I could call my own that I never once thought I’d have trouble getting pregnant. So in my early 30′s when we began trying for a baby and not succeeding, it really came as a complete shock to me, as it often does to other women as well. It was a different kind of failure this time, one that no matter how hard I tried, I could not succeed at.

Beyond coming to terms with feeling like a failure as a woman and not being able to get pregnant, which were hard enough to swallow, I had to logically accept that this part of my life which I had been so certain about for so long, was probably not going to happen the way I thought it was. After metaphorically banging my head against the wall, I had to look at the truth of my situation and re-evaluate my dreams, desires, and goals {present & future} or else chance becoming a depressed and lost victim living in a kind of “What life was supposed to be like” misery. This transition didn’t happen overnight, as you may know if you’ve been following my infertility story from the beginning, but I forged on and found that I could have a full life and find success down other avenues.

In 2007, after scrapping a blog I began to document what I thought was a pregnancy, I created this blog instead. My original goal with it was to be able to be my own boss and eventually earn enough from it to be able to be a stay at home or work at home mom when I did finally become pregnant and have kids. I was a graphic and web designer at the time and for the 10 years prior, so building a blog, knowing the ins and out of the internet and how to make money via advertising online, was second nature to me. The technical skills I had were advantageous, though I really knew nothing about blogging – -or myself at the time. It wasn’t until the following year though that something extraordinary started happening: blogging actually gave me my life back again after years of panic and anxiety and feeling like a complete failure.

It flooded me with my lost passion for fashion, style, decorating and all kinds of creative projects and lost dreams I thought I’d never accomplish. The creative person I had always been was free again and bubbling with ideas as I had remembered “her” years before. Most of all, my passion for life and living returned with a vengeance and slowly the panic, fear, anxiety, and agoraphobia dissipated. I was finally outside my own headspace again creating the life of my dreams. That in itself, was a success.

After 10 years of flopping and flailing and fearing life, I finally felt like myself again and now, 5 years after creating …loveMaegan.com, I can say that as per my original blogging goal, which was to earn a living and work at home, I am a success. I am not only earning a living but have created a new career and am open to all new possibilities in life.

I have not, however, been successful at fulfilling the “mom” part of the original goal.

As I sit here now, happy with where I am at in my life, I can see how all of those odd jobs I had in my past quietly and willfully led me to any success I have in my life now. Certainly not by opportunity but more by what I learned doing and working at each of them, adding up to a bag-full of skills and life-experience that I’ve cultivated into something that works for me on a number of levels.

I remember thinking when I was a few years into my graphic and web design “fallback” career, that I hated working freelance and wished I could create a web site of sorts that was all my own, where I could share my style, hair and makeup tips, DIYs and more, and make a living doing it. This was in or around the late 90′s, where blogs – while they may have existed – weren’t even close to what they are today.

In those years, while working freelance web and graphic gigs, acting and singing, I was also doing makeup for a headshot photographer which taught me more about lighting and photography than I could have ever learned in school. During those years I had no idea that holding the lighting boards for him and going through countless rolls of film – and then digital photos, would help me now, as much of my blog is photography based as well as posing and taking photos of my outfits.

I find it so interesting that only in retrospect I can see how each and everything I did gave me skills that I use every single day now. If only I could have known then that they were purposefully in my life to teach me a valuable skill that I would use for my future, I would have probably enjoyed the moments doing them much much more.

I think with success, as with anything in life, you have to start somewhere… and you never know just where that somewhere will lead you. I thought I knew what I wanted in life and I thought for sure I would be a “mom” more than anything else. But I am happy and my life looks very different than I thought it would when I was 13 years old. I am, in a strange way though, living a dream life I had imagined at some point or another. Life is a series of journeys and if I have learned anything, it has been that patience is truly a virtue. But so is persistence and passion and hard work. I think success, more than anything, is living what you love, because that is truly what makes us most happy, regardless of how much it pays. The money that comes with it or from it is neither good, nor bad, it simply is.

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LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, and home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life with her husband and adorable dogs, two Frenchies & an old Pug in wheels. Here you will find her talking about their journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation up to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life.

38 Comments

  • Elissa @ thegirlson23rd

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    I’ve been following you for about two years now, and I really love reading the posts that really come from the heart. You seem to have really succeeded in finding yourself and being happy with where you are and what you do.

    I recently started a blog with my roomate, which now seems it is just my blog, but taking photos for it has given my boyfriend and I an activity to do together that we haven’t done before. Its funny how something as simple as starting a blog can change things for the better. I wish you even more success, whichever form that may be. Continue to inspire, Maegan!

  • Jenna

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t normally comment on your blog, not because I don’t enjoy it, on the contrary, I absolutely love coming here. However today this post really spoke to me. I have been going through a number of emotions lately about my idea of success and feeling like I have never really or never can measure up to anyone’s expectations; most importantly I feel like I have failed myself, if that makes any sense at all. I fall victim to the comparison game and have 3 step-sisters who have all achieved “success” in marriage and babies and good paying jobs/sugar daddies. I remain single in my mid-thirties and having recently gotten out of a long term relationship. Life has not lived up to any of my expectations and yet there are days and moments when I feel like I am exactly where I need to be and where the universe intended me to be. I wish I felt more confident in the path my life has taken and that the end result will be as rewarding and fulfilling as I had hoped, but I guess you just have to keep living each day and hoping that it’s enough. Thanks for the reminder though about pursuing ones passions. I needed that push.

  • anbetisa

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    I`m totally agree with you, scuse my english!!!
    Sono toalmente d`accordo con te!!!
    Complimenti per il tuo blog!!!!!
    xxxx
    http://www.soltantouno.blogspot.com

  • Laura

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    I love this post! Thank you for sharing.

  • Natasha Fatah

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    Very thoughtful post.
    Thanks for sharing all of this with us.

    xoxo
    ~Natasha Fatah~
    ~Natasha Fatah~

  • Keisha

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    I really appreciate your candor. You know how to articulate you feelings so well. I thank you for sharing because I have a lot of the same feelings at 33. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone. :-)

  • Sheree

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    great post! It is so important for me to do what I am passionate about for a living..I think a lot of people have a hard time simply figuring that out so you have definitely succeeded in many ways!

  • Lorenna

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    Beautifully written! Thank you so much Maegan. I hope you realize how “successful” you have been at influencing others in such a positive way through this blog.

  • luckylass

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    Congrats to you. I think it is so important that woman our age share our journey to the younger generation. Like you, I hope they can appreciate and get what they can out of those experiences and jobs that might not be ideal, but doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile. I don’t think I know one person that has had a linear career path. It is all about the journey, taking risks and opportunities.

  • Rachael

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    Maegan, I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now, and yours is one of the only blogs that hasn’t devolved over time. Many of the bloggers I have been following for a while, blogs that were once unique and original, now look all the same, full of the same DIYs, c/o products and trends. You have retained your voice and your posts continue to be inspiring, personal, and original. I love the way you mix your classic sense of style with current trends and pieces, and always remain thoroughly YOU.

    Your candor about your fertility struggles has especially touched me. Although motherhood isn’t one of my personal goals, that is is one of yours and that, so far, you’ve been unable to achieve it breaks my heart. Your blog does a fantastic job of portraying your authentic personality (at least it seems to!) and the personality that shines through it screams “amazing mom” to me. Every day when I read your posts I get a little pang because you are so positive, so creative, so nurturing, and I send some positive vibes your way in hopes that you will someday achieve that goal on your road to personal success.

    I’ve been a long time reader, but haven’t commented much, and just wanted to let you know that you are appreciated and we’re rooting for you :)

    Cheers.

  • Where's Gaia?

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    Maegan, you are absolutely precious and your blog is a rock for a lot of people. It sounds so hokey but your blog really has changed my life. Success is kinda overrated isn’t it? I mean it really is someone else’s measure. As long as you’re living the life you choose and feel good about it…everything else is the proverbial icing on the cake.

  • Ann

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    Love this post, thanks for sharing your experiences. You always have such well-rounded insight, and it’s so interesting. Also, you really are a good writer – which is why I was so excited for you back when you announced your book.

    I wish you such incredible success, because you’ve earned it, and success couldn’t happen to a better person.

  • sasahearts

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    Everything in life does happen for a reason. Sometimes we don’t know it when we are in pain or experiencing something negative. It is what it is and nothing can change what is happening in the moment but I’ve learned that what you do from there (how you react, what you create,etc)is where we are actually able to do something about it and where magic happens.
    Great post…I love all your posts :)

  • Me

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    Whenever I have feelings of exactly what you’re describing here – if I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t have the knowledge for this or had I chose that path I wouldn’t be here on this one – it always confirms to me that I’m right where God wants me to be.

    Who knows what the next few years will hold. It is possible that ALL of your dreams may come true.

  • Kat

    May 12, 2012 | Reply

    This was very inspiring and I am a new blogger as well. This really is an encouraging piece so I thank you for sharing this with all of us. Truly.

    aneyeforfashion.blogspot.com

  • Consider Me Lovely

    May 13, 2012 | Reply

    I think about the true meaning of success and defining it for myself ALL of the time! If I wrote the thoughts your post has evoked in me, it would be a post in itself.

    So instead, I’ll say thank you Maegan for this post; it is so perfect, real, and timely!

  • Mawiyah

    May 13, 2012 | Reply

    Very nice :)

  • Alice Barton

    May 13, 2012 | Reply

    this post has meant to me so much. thanks for blogging, really, thanks for being there willing to share. You have helped me in many ways as I have also been stuck in life and thanks to your blog I have been able to start new proyects (my blog amongst others) and although my blog is pretty simple, it it my creative outlet thtat helps me get my sanity back when life itself seems too overwhelming. thanks from the bottom of my heart. alice.

  • thankfifi

    May 13, 2012 | Reply

    I really do think success is so hardto measure – it’s really only us who can truly judge our own success.x

  • Elle Sees

    May 14, 2012 | Reply

    you just wrote about my life, even though i never got married, but anyway, thank you for this.

  • Joy

    May 14, 2012 | Reply

    This is totally where I am in my life right now. Exactly. I haven’t yet found my niche yet though. It’s hard knowing you’re not doing what you love but not knowing how to get there either.

  • Joanne Drayton

    May 14, 2012 | Reply

    Thank you so much for this post. I’ve struggled with anxiety and finding my happy place in life for most of my twenties. Hearing about success in finding a way to work at what you love and finding peace makes me feel better about all the times I doubt myself and question the decisions I’ve made.
    Thank you for the honestly and the hope.

  • Kristen @ The Chronicles of Dutch

    May 14, 2012 | Reply

    What a lovely post. I really needed to read this this morning. Thanks :)

  • antique engagement rings

    May 14, 2012 | Reply

    Cool idea… Love it!

  • loving LA

    May 14, 2012 | Reply

    hello! I love your blog and I you. Well, I think success is mesuare in LOVE and solutely nothing else. Loving life, loving family, loving oneselve ( therefor accepting oneselves limitations ) loving strangers,etc…. list can go on and on…. :)

  • loving LA

    May 14, 2012 | Reply

    hello! I love your blog and I you. Well, I think success is mesuare in LOVE and solutely nothing else. Loving life, loving family, loving oneselve ( therefor accepting oneselves limitations ) loving strangers,etc…. list can go on and on…. :)

  • kh

    May 15, 2012 | Reply

    Thank-you……… I really thought I was the only one paralized with anxiety and fear. There is hope to get through this. Xoxo

  • amanda*rose

    May 15, 2012 | Reply

    As a 27-year-older, I’m at the cusp of just finding our what I can call my own, and making the life I imagine. Thank you for always being so candid and so true in your posts…yours was one of the first ever blogs I read back in 2009, and three of my own blogs later, I think I’m at brink of finding that girl in me I remember a long time ago.

    You are a daily inspiration, and I’m so happy to virtually know you. One day, I hope to meet you in person, and give you a hug.

    ♥ ♥ ♥

  • J from Canada

    May 15, 2012 | Reply

    I wanted to cry after reading this. I did, because I felt it woulda been some sort of release, but I also thought it’d make me weak for doing so. I’m in my early 20′s, in fact I’m graduating next month with my BSc in biology, and yet, I feel like nothing’s going on in my life. I feel like I should be somewhere already, have a job in my field or at least something close (finished my studies in December). Most of my friends have jobs in their field already, but maybe that’s because they graduated last year…
    I’d hate whenever someone would ask me things like ‘Are you done school yet?…Oh, biology, so what are you gonna do with that? You don’t know, well that’s ok’. It never felt like their response to me not knowing what I was gonna do with my degree was genuine, it always felt, and still does, like I’ve done something wrong by not knowing. I know a lot of people feel like that coming outta school, but it doesn’t help that my close circle all happen to know and are working their way toward their goals. People have high expectations of me, which is turning out to be good and bad – they believe that I can do great things, but I in turn feel like I ALWAYS have to be doing great things to feel validated. I sense I’m rambling now…
    I read your post and it spoke to me; not many blogs out there do that. I could feel the sincerity and honesty from your words and it was touching. You’ve reminded me, shown me, that it’s not too late. Heck, I haven’t started living my life yet in a way. It’s hard to keep my head up though when I feel like a failure before I’ve begun. Your post made me realize I don’t have my own definition for success. Other people’s ideas are intruding. This is also infringing on my happiness since certain things I’ve done were for others, not for me. After 5 years, I think my degree was one of those things :(.
    There’s a war in my head that I feel I’m losing. And yes, I’m young and it isn’t too late. But right now I feel hopeless and lost. Your post has given me some hope and put the spotlight on defining success for onesself, something I still have to do.

    Thank you, Maegan

  • drollgirl

    May 15, 2012 | Reply

    you have worked very hard for every bit of success that you are enjoying! you deserve it! MAEGAN WINS! :)

  • lara

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    MAEGAN , I UNDESTAND YOU A LOT … I AM NURSE IN A HUMAN REPRODUCTION CENTER IN SPAIN (SORRY FOR MY ENGLISH IT´S HORRIBLE…)
    I´M VERY SAD ABOUT ALL YOUR POST ABOUT INFERTILITY AND I WONDER TO MYSELF IF YOU HAVE HAD A GOOD GYNECOLOGIC HEALTH CHECK AND YOUR HUSBAND SEMEN CHECK … SOMETIMES IT´S MUCH MORE SIMPLE THAN YOU THINK….IT´S VERY IMPORTAN KNOW WHERE IS THE PROBLEM O EVEN KNOW IF REALLY THERE IS A PROBLEM!!!….SOME TIMES IT´S ONLY THAT THE MAN DON´T TAKE HOT BATH (HAVE A SHOWER) , DON´T USE FITTED UNDERWEAR , NOT EJERCISE THAT CYCLING ( KEEP A GOD TEMPERATURE FOR THE SPERM)…. AND NOT MASTURBATION A LOT…;)
    IF HAVE A CHILD IS SO SO IMPORTAN DONT FORGEN LOT OF POSIBLILITIES YOU HAVE ….ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATIÓN,IN VITRO FERTILIZATION, ABDOMEN OF RENT ( IN SPAIN IT´S NOT ALLOWED) AND ADOPTION…

    MOST IMPORTAN…TRANQUILITY !!!!WHAT ABOUT A HOLLIDAYS IN SPAIN…

    AND REMEMBER…YOU MUST FEEL REALIZED LIKE A HUMAN , LIKE WOMAN… LIKE A VERY VERY SUCCES WOMAN YOU ARE …. YOU ARE A INSPIRATION FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE …. WE WAIT WE NEED YOU BLOG … KISSES FROM SPAIN.

  • JJ

    May 23, 2012 | Reply

    Beautiful post – I’m constantly in awe of your talents! Thanks for being YOU and sharing your passions with us :)

  • Anonymous

    May 30, 2012 | Reply

    I understand your wanting to create someone from the love you and your husband share. But in reading your blog over the years, I know you are a kind and loving women who would make an excellent mother. So it makes me a little sad to know that a child not yet born or already born without parents wouldn’t get the opportunity to experience the amazing love and life that you are willing to give to a child. I hope that you will still consider adoption.

    - Love and wish you the best

  • Anonymous

    June 1, 2012 | Reply

    It felt like you read my thoughts. Ive been dating and married for ten years. Im in my 30s now with a successful business, and no child. There are days where I openly accept that we will never have children of our own, but there are also days that I become sad. That is normal I guess. I dont want to go through the anxiety anymore, so I just let it go…Thank you for this. We are not alone…

  • erinkathleen

    June 7, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Maegan – like many, I am a long time reader, and a first time commenter. I just wanted to say that these posts are what keep me coming back to your blog. I started reading to look at pretty things, and be inspired to make them. But, I’ve kept reading because of you – because of your honest voice, and your ability to remain real.

    Thank you for writing – both about the pretty things, and the honest things. Because really, they are the same thing.

  • Heather

    July 2, 2012 | Reply

    Pinned you to my admiration board Maegan. Blessings and prayers to you. Being able to find the joy in life despite the difficulties you have faced is a brave thing to do! I wish you all the very best and will keep you in my prayers!
    ~Heather aka ChaosAndSilence

  • Kirsten

    August 27, 2012 | Reply

    Great post, I really like your blog. Everything depends on a person and every one his/her own understanding of success. I think that you’re successful when you have a perfect balance between all the spheres of your life. Success is when you find what you like and earn enough money from that, so you can be happy. Success is a high level which you can reach when you do something worthy.

  • Mawiyah

    February 2, 2013 | Reply

    Thank you so much for this – This is so encouraging – thank you and it demonstrates how God really does have us in the palm of his hand – all those “odd jobs” led you to this space you currently live in. I know the same is true for me.. What a blessing – it encourages me very much…

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