I may look at ease in this photo, taking in an incredible view of Zion National Park, but on the climb up to this point, I was tired, first cold, then hot, then in possession of truly unhelpful thoughts such as, “I’m holding my husband back from a more satisfying and speedy pace,” or “I’m too old to hike anymore.”
As I stopped to catch my breath in the shade of a friendly rock wall, I’m happy to report that the magnificence of the valley below rinsed those thoughts out of my head in a split second.
Around the next bend, the aforementioned husband sagely pointed out the obvious (with a straight face, no less), that we could pause whenever we wanted. As I gave myself permission to do just that, I noticed the delicate loveliness of yellowing cottonwood leaves along the trail.
Every pause thereafter became its own moment to drink in more and more natural beauty. And that, really, was the point of this trip, not to race everyone else to the top, or even to get to the top at all.
Success, I realized, looked like stopping and going as needed. It looked like being together, and breathing deeply, and putting in the physical effort. It felt like enjoying the incredible glory of the canyon. It felt like inspiration and soul refreshment, and a subtle deepening of our connection with each other and with this precious blue planet.
It’s crucial to define success on your own terms.
That success can be what you want from a hiking trip, or it can be what you want from a job, a relationship, or an hour of personal time.
The end of year is a great time to ask yourself what priorities might have shifted for you over the past 12 months, or what deeper needs and desires might have arisen within you in that time.
This week, make time to reflect in a journal or with a friend or family member on how you want to define success in the coming year:
What does that success look like?
What does that success feel like?
How will you know you’ve succeeded in this way?