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What does success mean to me?

My youngest brother is in his freshman year of college and on Sunday asked if he could interview me for a class project. In typical Kyle fashion, I wasn’t given any other details but of course I said yes. He sent over the questions and on Carrie’s suggestion, I’ve decided to post my responses below.

I later found out he was asked to interview a role model…I hope my answers are worthy of that title. I also hope he stops emulating my school work tactics so much and waiting until Sunday to start a project that’s due on Monday!

1. What does success mean to you?
Athletics are a very important part of my life so that is going to be where I approach the answers to these questions. Sports have taught me more about myself and developed my approach to life in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

Something I’ve learned over the past few years is that there are many measures of success. However, only one is important, that’s the success that’s found from reaching your own personal goals. External influences can drive you to be successful, but in reality this will make you to try to be the best that other people think you can be or want you to be.

Success means that I set a goal that I want to reach, no matter how unattainable some people might think it is, and I strive to achieve it. I put everything I have in to making that goal a reality and I will become successful. Even if I don’t achieve the planned outcome, I will have learned something about myself in the process that will change the way I chase down that goal or other goals in the future.

Pushing myself out of my comfort zone to find new limits of what I am and who I can be, that is success.

2. What does hard work mean to you?
Hard work is doing what has to be done to be successful. Endurance sports have taught me a lot about life and hard work is one of those things. No matter how much I love running, biking, and swimming for hours at a time, there are times when I just don’t want to do it. The bed is much warmer than the cold pool deck. My legs are sore from last night’s gym session and the miles on the trails just sound painful. I have no desire to get all my gear together and get out the door for a bike ride.

Then I stop and look at the big picture. What goals do I want to achieve? What’s it going to take to get there? The hard work is doing the little things that need to be done to reach my goals. It won’t always be fun and sometimes, it’s just going to suck, but I do it anyway, because that’s what it takes!

3. What achievements make you most proud?
As important as it is to be internally motivated, the achievements that make me most proud aren’t the ones that show how good I can be at something or show me what new levels I’ve accomplished. While that is a part of it, the achievements I am most proud of are the ones that I can look at and know that I’ve done the best that I could to demonstrate the incredible influence on my life that my wife has had; knowing that my family can be proud of what I have done and that I have opened their eyes and minds to new possibilities in myself and their own lives; and knowing that something I have done may motivate someone else, even someone I have never met to push their own limits and challenge themselves to try new things.

4. What are your work values?
Honestly, I wish I had better work values from a traditional standpoint. I truly despise work, especially when it’s something I’m not passionate about. I hate the thought of getting up every day and doing the same thing over and over again simply because I have to pay the bills or support a family. To me, there is nothing more terrifying than being stuck in a position where I have no choice but to continue showing up to a job every day because I can’t afford not to.

I know I was raised in a working class family and taught to work hard so that I could retire and enjoy my old age, but unfortunately, I see a major flaw in that. Why would I want to enjoy myself when I’m too old to take advantage of it? Why should I work myself to the bone during the prime of my life only to be able to relax when I have no other choice but to sit around and relax?

My work values from a job standpoint rely on one simple thing; do enough to support the things I truly love. When you find the things that you truly love, work like crazy to be the best you can be at them and enjoy them to the fullest! If you can make those two things; your job and your passion, the same, then you have found a place in your life that can make you happy for a very long time!

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