Re-defining my measure of success

"One of the best paddle boarding tips is to start moving forward as soon as you're standing. That way the board is more stable, easier to control. Paddle, don't idle. It's good advice for life." 

I wrote that line in an article for The Guardian that was published over the weekend. 

I hadn't realised, until I saw the date on the paper, that it's been exactly 12 months since I quit my job. And that got me thinking about the journey I've been on. 

I had no real plan then, and I still don't. The only certainly in my mind was that adventure and nature needed to play a big part in my future - it was where I felt happiest, most content. And I wanted to pursue something I was passionate about, with real meaning to me.

The day after I finished work I sat and cried. I felt I'd lost my direction and I didn't really know what I was doing. Maybe I had made the wrong decision? Had I been too hasty? I'd worked hard throughout University and once I got my first job in marketing I never looked back. I was ambitious and wanted to climb the corporate ladder, measuring my success by the size of my pay checks and job titles.  I'd built my identity around my career and then one day I just threw it all away without really being able to explain why, or what was next. 

Deep down I knew I needed to make a drastic change and after I quit I said to myself it was going to be marginal gains. As long as I spent every day doing something - anything - that made me feel good, happy and fulfilled I was moving forward.  

And now, a whole year later, I can look back and see this incredible adventure I've been on - full of highs and lows - but I've never regretted my decision to redefine what my measure of success looks like.

My tip for learning to paddle board really does hold up as advice for life. Stand up, and as soon as you're standing, move forward. It doesn't matter how fast or how straight, or even if it feels like all conditions are against you and you're going backwards, it's still progress. And eventually you will look back, as I have on this year, and see just how far you've come without even realising it. 

That's what motivates me to keep going - I want to see where I can get to from here. Keep paddling, don't idle. 

Lizzie Carr5 Comments