Sometimes, when I’m still working on a slide deck at midnight or I’m back in the office at 6am, I’ll tweet “this is what success looks like”. I’m being satirical, but it has made me think more about ‘what is success?’ & ‘how do we measure it?’
Growing up in a working class family, success was always measured financially. “They’re well off, he’s got a good job”, “they’ve got plenty of money, she’s got a nice car” The aspiration was clearly to have money. Time was never really valued. No one ever said “he’s got the time to do the things he loves”. “Work hard, do well at school, get a good job” were the mantras that were ingrained in us, as I’m sure they were & still are in many households up & down the country.
Truth be told I didn’t work that hard at school. I had the ability to turn it on when required (I was once referred to as “an enigma” by a headmaster) & consequently I didn’t do that well. I scraped my way into University & then spent the next 10 years working in clubland (which my wife always refers to as “not a proper job”). When that all spiralled out of control at 31 I basically started again, moved into a new sector, worked hard & I’ve ended up with a good job. Not only that, I’ve fulfilled the utopian dream my parents had of running my own business. “You get out what you put in” “you’re working for yourself, you keep every penny” etc. etc.
So, that’s it. I’ve done it. I’ve pretty much fulfilled the dream my parents had for me; I’ve achieved; I should be “over the moon” shouldn’t I? I really enjoy delivering the projects, & that good job gives me the money to live in a nice house, drive a new van & have 3 amazing bikes sat in the garage. But the payoff is that it doesn’t leave much time to do the things you love. When I totalled it up, I've actually spent more days in London this year than I have riding those 3 bikes & my music project with Matt has slowly ground to a halt.
So, it got me thinking, what is success? Well, I’m now of the opinion that success is having the time & the money. We’ve recently had our first child & I’ll be sure to make sure she values time more as a commodity in her life, because at the end of the day you can always earn more money, but your time here is limited.