So, please, tell me about yourself. Don’t think about it. Don’t formulate a long, trying-to-impress, response. What is your reaction to that answer which immediately pops into your head?
I was asked this question several years ago by a participant in one of my presentations. But then he also added, “How has this answer changed since your brain injury?” It made me think about it for the first time. How do I define myself? What was I like compared to the years before I had my stroke?
We evolve. It is logical. We will always evolve. That is life. But who are you today? What is it –what passion, what occupation, what hobby – what is it that defines who you are?
Is the answer to this questioning what you what it to be? If not, how can you grow into the person you foresee in your future? Defining who we are will certainly evolve over time. Sometimes we will lose the titles we have once bestowed upon ourselves. Press forward, work toward fulfilling your dreams. You have the power to create the person you dream of telling others about.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go,
but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”
I think of all of the ways I have defined “success” throughout my life. It’s a word which, like so many others, has a definition that evolves with where we are in that moment of our lives.
Success is defined by Webster’s dictionary as: “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” Once, when I was very young, success was being able to ride a bicycle with no training wheels. I wanted to be on my own, supported by nothing except sheer will. This independence to ride alone on the sidewalk was what I then labeled as my greatest success.
Throughout the years, my goals changed. At twenty-seven, these goals became simpler but the chance to succeed was seemingly even more difficult. I only wanted to do everyday tasks known to the rehabilitation world as “activities of daily living”. I wanted to walk from one doorway to another. I wanted to get dressed all by myself. I wanted, believe it or not, to be able to change my daughters’ diapers.
Recently, I heard from a twenty-four year-old female. Her unexpected, unbelievable success came not long ago when she took a shower all by herself. She was even able to reach up and run a wash cloth through her hair! She, too, had a stroke at a young age. Labels of success depend on where you are in your life.
My most recent success was painting stripes on my daughter’s bedroom wall. I measured for the stripe’s length and width. Okay, it took several times measuring/removing painter’s tape/holding up the leveler again and again and again before pressing down the tape one last time. I found success in all the things I did during this project. I had enough eyesight necessary to judge the evenness of the lines where they met on opposite sides of the window. I had the ability to dip a brush into the paint and the strength and stability to hold onto this brush and color the walls. I had the balance to climb a few steps up a ladder. I made my daughter smile as we worked together to reach her goals.
Success should not be defined by others peering into your life. It is not a word which can be fully defined in a dictionary. Success is found in your own head and your own heart. Believe in yourself. Reach for your goals. Define your own success today.
“There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet.” William Frederick Halsey, Jr.
“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.” Roger Crawford
“I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run towards it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your foot.” Nadia Comaneci
“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” Bernice Johnson Reagon
“Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.” General George S. Patton
This week’s fun quote:
“You see a mousetrap; I see free cheese and a (expletive deleted) challenge!” Scroobius Pip