What does it mean to you?

To society we’ve all been given the answer. Told what success is, for us.

For some, it's to work hard your whole life and retire after 40-odd years with a gold watch. That’s success. Told to us by our fathers and grandfathers, as had been drummed into them by their employers. My Dad was that man, and I was damn proud of him. I still am, and I hope to be half the man he was every day. Striving to be better than I was yesterday. But was he successful? I don’t know. I never got to ask him that. It was more important to tell him that I was proud to be his son, and I said to him that if I ended up half the man he was, I’d be damn proud of myself. I knew he heard me. I also knew he loved me, and he was damn proud of me.

So, in my younger years, success was the work ethic my dad had. I strove to be that guy, and I was that guy. I was working myself into an early grave, just like my dad did at 61. Suddenly, that wasn't a success for me anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. Everyone has different passions, interests, and responsibilities. So sometimes, you make your success with what you have. Doing the best you can in your own personal situation, is another form of success. Making the most of the situation you are in. I understand that, as I am currently homeless, but I am still grateful and blessed. I have a roof over my sons and my head. I bought a bus that’s decked out like a campervan. I have a car. I can do some work. There are people in worse positions than I am in the current environment.

Sometimes, just putting one foot in front of the other is a success. Always celebrate the wins, no matter how small.

Others have it drummed into them that they have to get good grades, get into University, and become that Lawyer, Doctor or whatever to be successful. Because that’s what their parents wanted, they want it for the children. My dad was also that man. He tried really hard to get me to want that. He insisted that I would be finishing High School and going to University.

The problem there was that I hated school. Don’t get me wrong, I love learning about anything and everything. To this very day, I still love learning. I got good grades without trying, but I never studied. My teachers and my parents were constantly telling me to “TRY”. So I could get great grades. I would, at the beginning of every school year, try. To make my dad proud. It would last a few weeks at most, and my grades were always in the top 90%, still without studying. I’d just put in effort.

The school system just wasn’t for me. Especially High School. I started “wagging” (skipping school) school from the first year of high school, not even 13. Up until the end of the second last year. Year 11 here. In Year 10, my report card to Dad said, "66 days absent." I squeezed in a ½ between the 6 and the days. I told Dad that it was 66-half days of absence. You know, when I’d miss the bus and get there late.

A couple of years later, I told him I was worried about my sister wagging school. She had already been kept back a year. I was worried Dad didn’t know. How naive of me.

He looked me dead in the eye and said,
“Your Principal called me every single day you weren’t at school. As he does with your sister.”
Wait. What?

Every single day. Dad never said a word. I asked him why, as early on, I’d get punished.
“I wasn’t worried about you. I knew no matter what, you’d be okay.”

That’s why he stopped the pressure for University for me. I was strong-willed, just like him. In so many ways, I am just like my dad. It wasn’t until he was gone that I could see it.

By the way, I did the mature-aged entry exam at 22 for entrance into University. I’ve been accepted three times. I still didn’t go to University.

I was lucky to have such a great man as a father. Truly. He let me have and make my choices after instilling core values in me. He let me be, me.

Others aren’t so lucky. They go to University for 4 years or 6 years. Longer. To make their parents happy. To make them proud. To do the career that they pushed them to. Some do all that and find out they are not happy. They become successful in the eyes of society and their parents. But not theirs.

Society also says success is making the big bucks. Being an Entrepreneur. Going into business. It’s this glamorous life, for those that make it. Glossing over the amount of failures in the first year of business. Even in the first five years the failure rate is high. This is success?

Let’s be clear, failure isn’t the opposite of success. Failure is another lesson. Another learning experience. It’s only failure, if you give up. If you stop. However, some people aren’t built to handle failure as well as others. Some failures are huge and devastating.

As I’ve lived life through the years. I’ve had different ideas of what success is to me. With each new job, it was rising up the ladder quickly. I always did. Then someone would stop me. Thinking I was after their job. Or just not like seeing the drive in me, they didn’t have. Or whatever reason there was. So I’d move on, quickly. If I wasn’t happy, I’d get another job and quit. Never quit, then tried to get another job. What, no loyalty? I saw that loyalty in some of the places my dad worked hard at. Long hours. To be discarded. He always got another job quickly, and before he passed, was well respected in the Transport and Logistics industry across Australia. He’d worked up to being the State Operations Manager for one of the largest refrigerated transport companies in Australia. People he hadn’t seen in over 30, 40 years, flew from all across Australia, to Perth. For his funeral.

Miss you Dad. RIP.

So, no, I gave companies as much loyalty as they deserved. There were a couple that did deserve it. They got it. Still, when it was time to move. I’d move. I’m not wasting their time and my time if I’m not happy. Still, I wasn’t sure what my idea of success looked like. By chance, I was on the same path as my father. I ended up with a company that respected me and my work ethic. Within a year, I’d received the largest single pay rise they’d given anyone. Then another pay rise and the offer of a promotion and transfer from Perth to Sydney, becoming the National Warehouse Manager. With the view that in 12 months, I would take over from my boss as he became the National Operations Manager, I’d take over as the State Operations Manager. I’d fallen into this “career” by just shrugging and saying, I’ll give Warehouse Management a shot. It’s a job. Turns out, I was ridiculously good at it. It was also the right blend of mental work, physical work and challenges. Known challenges coming up and the “surprise” challenges. Being really good at it. Which meant I didn’t hate it. I didn’t LOVE it. But I enjoyed the challenges. Still seeking out different ones when I’d mastered the current one.

That’s how I ended up in Sydney. About two months into it, I was enjoying the change, the challenge. But it was still not what I considered I would do for the rest of my life. Deep down, I knew that.

Life has a way sometimes that it beats your dreams out of you. You push them aside for “reasons”. Some of those reasons are important. I had a daughter. So what I was doing was how I could give her a better start to life than I had. Even with how great my dad was. He was still, just a man. He wasn’t perfect as none of us are. I didn’t have an easy start.

So, I wanted better for my daughter. Even though her mother and I were separated, we were friends.

So, this was my new idea of what success would look like?

The universe got fed up with me not listening. I like to say. So she threw a truck at me while I was on my motorbike in Sydney. I wasn’t meant to catch it, however. I did catch it with my full chest. I won’t go into details. You can read about it here.

So, that version of success was out.

As writers, we all have different ideas of what success looks like.

Making a bestseller list.
Writing their first book.
Their book was made into a movie.

For me. If one day I’m at my local library and just one of my books is on their bookshelves. Then, to me, I’ve made it as a writer.

That’s just one aspect of what success now looks like to me. The other. My children, daughter and son, grow into happy, well-adjusted, kind adults. The emphasis is on HAPPY. More than anything, I want them to be happy. I’ll do anything I can to help them get there.

My idea of success has evolved and completely changed over the years as I have grown and evolved over the years as well. I’m only 51. Yeah, I’ve died twice already. But I’m stubborn. Sorry, I’m tenacious.

No, I’m stubborn. I’m a red-headed Australian with Scottish blood flowing through my veins. I’m also a Taurus and I was born in the year of the Ox.

I’m really stubborn. Lol.

So what is your idea of what “success” looks like?

Your idea.

Not societies. Not your parents or grandparents.


What is it?