It is no doubt that many individuals feel burnout after being in a role for more years they’d like to admit. I was that person sitting in a cubicle that was not right for me. What changed? What changed was a conversation that I had with a co-worker at that time. We would have daily walks around the parking lot and one day I finally blurted out, “I don’t think I can do this anymore. I want to be successful and excel in my position, but I just don’t think I can sit at this desk all day and continue to stare at my window and watch airplanes take off.”

We both stopped in mid stride and she looked straight into my eyes and stated, “You have to look at your life and ask yourself, what is it that you truly want to experience in life?” I stood there in silence and responded with, “I’ve always wanted to travel and live abroad.”

A week later I was packing up my belongings at my desk and walked out that door with great relief. I was fearful and had no strategic plan in the beginning, but I knew this was right for me. From that moment on, I traveled abroad seeking adventure, taking language classes, and teaching English on the side. I felt free and I felt I was living what was authentically true for myself. Traveling and living abroad helped me redefine what success was to me:

Success is living out what we truly desire and going after that desire wholeheartedly.

Success is the person that is in a career they actually wanted and not because it is convenient.

Success is creating results that are aligned with our core values in life.

Success is enjoying things in the present moment.

I thought success was having a well worth title with various of letters behind my name, materialistic things and gadgets to show off. Which, of course, it wasn’t the case for me. What was and still important to me is traveling and life experiences.  One of my favorite quotes is by Chin-Ning-Chu, the author of Thick Face, Black Heart: The Warrior Philosophy for Conquering the Challenges of Business and Life.

“A successful life is on that is lived through understanding and pursuing one’s own path, not chasing after the dreams of others.”


Success. What does that word mean to you? And how will you redefine it this year?