Define and Measure Success on Your Own Terms

by Katie Bayer, summer 2023 intern at c21

Define and Measure Success on Your Own Terms

As someone who never liked school, it took me a while to figure out the next step of my professional and academic journey. When I say a while, I mean a few months, but when you are graduating high school and the rest of your class has come up with a personal plan already, it is easy to feel like you are falling behind.  

The idea that you are supposed to know what you want to do for the rest of your life right after high school was a scary thought for me. I mean, everything I had done up until that point was school and cheerleading, so how was I supposed to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life? I did not know what else there could be out there! 

Now, as I watch my peers graduate this year (the year I was supposed to), I feel a mix of emotions. I find myself getting lost in the comparison loop but try to quickly remember that each person measures success differently and that what might be a success to some, isn’t for others. 

Not everyone has to be on the same timeline. Although it took me one year longer than my peers to figure out where I wanted to be and that I wanted a career involving writing, that doesn’t mean that I am any less successful in its pursuit.  

On that note, here are three pieces of advice on how to define and measure your own success: 

Find your passion: It sounds cliché, but I think one way to find success is to find what you are passionate about. It can be as simple as finding one to two things that you have consistently liked throughout your life. For me, I knew I loved to be around people and feel a sense of community. I also knew that if I had to choose one favorite subject in school my answer was always writing. 

I know I still have many passions to uncover, but for now, I know I like to write and so far, I haven’t gotten tired of it yet! Once you find your passion, your successes will come naturally. Accepting an intern position with c21 is one of the biggest accomplishments in my career so far – and it all happened because I finally discovered what I am passionate about.  

Take a step back: When you find yourself in a slump and feel like you’ll never be as successful as you once dreamed, it’s important to take a step back to get a different perspective on your life. One way to do that is to cut back on your media consumption so you can focus on yourself.  

It is easy to start beating yourself up when social media constantly reminds you about everyone else’s successes. I like to point out that no one is posting about losing their job or failing a big test and everyone is posting about graduating college or accepting a new job. Every now and then, it might be a good idea to log off for a few days to give yourself a break and realize that you are doing the best you can on your own timeline.  

Another important thing to remember is that we grow into ourselves. Who I was when I graduated high school and who I am now are two completely different people. Taking time to reflect on those two people will allow you to see how much you have grown and accomplished!   

Celebrate the little things: As I grow professionally, I have found that celebrating the little things helps keep me motivated and create new goals. Little successes can mean just as much as big ones! Keep a journal of every time someone in your professional journey compliments your work, that way you have an entire journal full of affirmations to boost you up when you’re in a slump.  

One accomplishment I think about is when I was younger and all I wanted was to be a grown-up. Every time I question whether or not I am on the right path, I remind myself that I did it, I am officially a grown-up and little me would be so proud!  

Lastly, success is not linear, and that is something I must remember. Still, I am excited about the opportunities the future presents to me and feel confident in starting my professional journey at communications 21.



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