Photo Credit: John Carleton

At one time, to me, success looked like:

  • A lot of money in the bank
  • $500 business suits in the closet
  • $500 handbags for the office
  • A Lexus or Mercedes in the driveway
  • A coveted table or chef's table at a 5 star restaurant

Then, in 2008 I started by own business, an online marketing agency serving small businesses around the United States.

It was the first time I set definable goals. And some of those goals weren't related to money.

Goals like:

  • Speak to business people at a national conference
  • Write a book
  • Master the art of small talk
  • To not care what other people thought of me.

Today, nearing the end of 2014, I can say that I am successful. Not because I accomplished every goal, but because of what I've learned about myself while striving toward each goal.

I learned:

To be able to speak at a national conference I needed to learn how to speak in public. I joined Toastmasters in 2008 and in early 2009 I gave a presentation at my first national conference to business owners. I've since spoken at a few different national conferences for business owners. I also hosted a small business conference in Indianapolis in 2012.

To write a book, I needed to be an expert in something worth writing about. I thought it was going to be a book about me and my life. Instead, turns out that I'm an expert in Online Competitive Intelligence. I had been giving webinars and presentations on the subject since 2009 and realized that if I broke down the most recent presentation I had one large book, or three smaller Kindle ebooks. In 2014 took the plunge and published a Kindle ebook: Competitive Intelligence the Internet Way: CI101: There's More to Finding Information than Google

Mastering the art of small talk has been the most difficult challenge to date. I have learned to prepare myself before the event with a lot of rest, good food and a plan of action. The moment I begin feeling a bit tired I leave the event. Experience tells me that once I get tired all bets are off and I'm liable to say something insulting, offensive or rude to someone. Better to leave early with a reputation intact or leave late with a lot of work in days to come to repair the damage.

By far, though, the goal that was most important to me (and one I truly learned from) was ‘not caring what others thought of me'. In reality, it's very important that I know what other people think of me and that I care. Not that I let their thoughts dictate how I live my life – instead, to see myself through the eyes of someone else is a great gift and the best feedback I can ask for.

According to some:

  • I am quite successful because I have a long-term marriage (24 years so far) and we still love and respect each other.
  • I am successful because I enjoy the respect of fellow business owners throughout the USA and a few European countries.
  • I am successful because I am a decision maker and a doer – I make a decision and I do what needs to be done.
  • I am NOT successful because our house is 1/4 the size of the local millionaire's home.
  • I am NOT successful because we both drive vehicles 5 years and older.
  • I am NOT successful because I don't promote our giving to charity or individuals.

According to me?

I am successful because I have a vision of growing my businesses (both the online marketing agency and this one – the internet marketing education and personal growth business).

I awaken each day with a plan of action that is focused on accomplishing the vision I have.

I work with individuals and businesses each day to help them grow their own businesses.

I spend time with my husband doing things we both enjoy.


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