How do you define success?

I wrote the other day Am I a winner… or a loser? I wasn’t really asking the world; I was asking myself.

Yesterday morning, I felt rather down about my lack of success in the corporate world, and I put out a call for positive strokes on Twitter and Facebook. They both said, “I’m feeling down, and I need to believe in myself today. Please tell me something you admire about me. I’ll do the same for you.” (Actually, the update on Facebook began, “Daniel is…’feeling down'” and the rest I kept in the first person.)

I really did feel the need for positive strokes, yet I also thought it would be an interesting experiment in comparing my current self-and-other presence on Twitter and Facebook. The result was that I got more responses on Facebook. This isn’t altogether surprising, since I have more friends on Facebook and it seems to be popular with a larger audience than the geek-and-early-adopter crowd on Twitter. Of course, there could be other reasons for this result that I can’t divine. Anyway, here’s what some of my supporters said:

  • On Twitter:
    • @danielgreene your photos are fantastic! I’ve always enjoyed looking through your flickr stream!”
    • “Hi daniel, I admire sense of adventure and your honesty. I hope your say has been going better for you!”
  • On Facebook:
    • “I’m remembering the eyse and the flying hands when you tell a story in ASL”
    • “Your charisma brightens thf room.”
    • “Danny, I haven’t seen you in years, but the thing that I most remember about you is your generous smile!”
    • “True strength comes from within… don’t let others invalidate or validate you. Believing in yourself will only only work if you find your own reasons for admiring your own inner qualities.”
    • “Daniel you were one of the few genuine, kind and thoughtful classmate of mine at SCPA! Always had a nice thing to say with a smile!”
    • “I’m often inspired by how you see and capture the world. It’s very moving and inspiring – not just for me, but for many!”
    • “You are a smiley and positive person – hard to imagine you down. You are loved! ♥”

I am sincerely grateful for these strokes, and even for the non-stroke advice to stroke myself (that came out wrong). They’re all right, of course.😉 Including the friend who said, so wisely, “Believing in yourself will only only work if you find your own reasons for admiring your own inner qualities.”

What continues to puzzle me as I go through life is the enthusiastic feedback I’ve received from friends and colleagues yet the continued rejection I’ve received at commercial auditions (when I was eight and again when I was 37), the fact that I was rejected by all four SAG-franchised commercial talent agencies in the Phoenix Metro area when I moved here four years ago, and the five promotions I’ve been passed over for in the past three years. It has always seemed that whatever charisma I have, and whatever makes me “a wonderful person” doesn’t translate to commercial or corporate success.

So, I’m left with these questions:

  1. Why does my success with people not translate to success with businesses?
  2. Is there anything about my behavior that I can change (without losing myself in the process) that will enable me to achieve the commercial success I’ve been thus far unable to attain?
  3. And, in a nutshell: How do I define success?

There are people who love me in this world, and yet it’s not enough. I hate the sound of even saying that. Why is it that when I have a husband and two dogs clamoring for my attention, I am clamoring for the attention of “the world”? Why is it that when the people who love me tell me I’m great, I let “the world” make me feel small? When is it all going to be enough? When am I going to be enough? Perhaps when I feel that I am enough, and when I really “get it” that I am lovable, the commercial and corporate world will fall in line.

What do you think of all this? How do you define success?

Author: Daniel Greene

I facilitate communication between Deaf and hearing people, and I teach people American Sign Language (ASL) and interpreting. Apart from doing the work I love, my greatest joys are family & friends, entertainment, food, photography, and travel.

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