“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed” — Audrey Hepburn.
For the first time in months, I was laying on the beach, watching my daughter out on her sailing lesson. I was finally watching her, admiring her after a lot of practice. She was waving proudly, aware of my noticing her, finally present. My children needed me way more than I was giving and that fact hit me hard on that day.
At that time I was working before 6 am in the morning, practically all day. There I was exhausted and empty of purpose. In hindsight I was in the right place. I was forced to ask myself whether or not I was living my values, my bigger values, first of which is being there for my family. I was not.
The truth behind success is to practice the values we hold, every day, in small ways, and sometimes make big moves, as well. And that is whether or not on the outside we look “successful” to society. Today, four years on, my daughter and I visited a small town. In a lovely candy store we found, she ordered ice-cream while I chatted with the owner. The lady-boss was telling me about her big move: she decided to move to this small town a year ago after having enough of life in the big city. She tells me she chose to slow down and be there for her kids. She adds, “They grow up fast, you know.”
My daughter and I spent time in this town and then quiet time on its beach. Here we restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed ourselves. In answer to my question, “Am I living this value today?” I can affirm that I am. It’s not a question I will wait next weekend to ask again. It’s every day.
And when the word, “no” comes with being honest with myself, I know to slow down, take my focus off of my achievements, even the need to see my children’s achievements, and do what I need to do to be love in their presence for a moment or two or more. When the words, “I’ll make it up,” comes, those too are my signal to slow down and shift to practicing my values. Same goes when the words, “They’ll be fine” or “they have everything they need” comes. I know what to do.
It’s a practice I’m not perfect at. I’m growing into this practice with greater awareness as time goes on. And it doesn’t mean that I have to stand over my kids 24/7 to be a present mom, either. It’s more about “do they know without a shadow of a doubt that they are priority?” This whole journey hasn’t just transformed the success I see in my family. It has transformed me. Part of the success of this transformation is the greater peace, love and happiness I feel that was seriously absent four years ago.
My values determine my quality of life and how successful I feel. I possibly looked more successful than I do now to some, based on particular indicators, but I felt like I had to keep going faster and faster to rise higher and higher and achieve more and more. I operated from a place of lack. It isn’t until you pause and ask what wall your ladder is leaning against and ask whether you are truly living your values or moving further away from them, that you give yourself the chance to see what truly matters. You then live from a place of abundance.
May we all see the truth behind success and choose to do the little things each day, or even the big move, to be on track with our goals for life.
Originally published at medium.com