Defining Success By Doing It All + Why It's A Problem


If you’re anything like me, you completely understand this title. As a young professional woman, I hold myself to a higher standard than others have for me, and try to live up to it every single day. I set deadlines that no one else sets. I create lists on top of lists to organize every part of my life at work and at home. We think it’s making our lives easier, and in many ways it is, but sometimes getting tied down to lists can make you lose sight of the bigger picture.  

I want to be superwoman. I want to show people that I can handle anything, no matter the task. Proving my ability and kickass skills to others gives me this elated joy that takes me to Cloud Nine. But what happens when we keep taking on more responsibility and saying yes to everything? Each additional “yes” can become a brick weighing us down.

While it’s all fair and good to say “yes” to tasks and responsibilities that a boss, friend or coworker asks of us, we have to know our own limits. We must understand that saying no is not a weakness, but a strength. When we understand that getting more things done does not equate to more success, we can be more at peace with it all. This may seem like a no-brainer to many, but for some people, like me, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

When we have this understanding, we are practicing self-compassion. You might be laughing now, thinking, “Of course I know what self-compassion is!” To be honest, fully understanding it and actually practicing it are two different things. I’m learning that every time I reach an obstacle in my life.

Growing up in this day and age, we are conditioned to do more, to be more, and to get ahead. You hop on the train and sometimes it doesn’t stop where you need it to. Learning to take a step back and realize what’s most important in your life truly helps understand your limits, and teaches you when to say no. If you feel like “no” is too harsh, you can say “for another time.”

So what does it mean to be a superwoman? Well, it’s how we define our own success.  When I graduated college and started my first job, my idea of “superwoman” was being able to do anything and everything that came my way. Now, after a few more years of experience, I look at it through a clearer lens.

To me, success is no longer measured by what you accomplish. I now measure it by how you surmount obstacles that come your way. We as (super)women can do this by practicing self-compassion, learning when to say no, and understanding our own limits. You may not magically master these skills overnight, but in time, you will see that you are capable of more than you believe possible.

CareerKristianna George