It is that time of year again–that time when we sit down and set goals for the new year. We look back upon the year we are finishing as we look ahead to the year we are about to start.
I have to admit that I’ve had a tough time these last few weeks defining “success” for myself. It was a great year. I was able to transition into a part-time role in my day job to spend more time on my writing business and become a part-time stay at home dad. It was always a dream in the back of my mind.
The question is, though, now what?
What does success look like next?
I really liked the way Jenna Fischer described success to Brian Koppelmann on The Moment podcast. Fischer, of course, is the star of The Office. She is a big success. Now, though, she is able to turn down opportunities to give her young children a somewhat normal life.
She described success in two stages:
- Make a living as an actor.
- Make work that matters to you.
At first you are just trying to survive. You are trying to make enough money from your art to support yourself (and your family).
Then, once you find that stage of success, you earn the freedom to work on projects that excite you. You get to make the art you want to make.
As a writer at this stage in my career I find this to be incredibly enlightening.
As of this year, I can make a living from my art. What’s next? Make more and more money? Become famous? No, that is a constant cycle of leveling up that never ends.
Success from this point forward is picking the projects that stretch me and help me grow. It is learning to get better each day and finding out how to make the next project successful (whatever that might mean).