What does success look like to you? Maybe growing up you were told success would come when "X" happens. Or perhaps you were told when you can do "Y" then you will be considered successful. Or maybe even society has dictated your definition of success. Some of us watch what others do to shape our view on success. For me, I thought I knew exactly how success looked for me. As far back as I can remember, I knew I would be keynote speaking, training, and leveraging my gifts to empower others to leverage theirs as well. But I assumed it would be through the path of those that had gone before me!
Somewhere along the way, the seed was planted in my head that my success was tied to being on the largest and most popular stages. Success would come with being featured in the most popular and well known magazines. Or possibly through being connected to the biggest brands. Those would be the things that would give me my big break, right? I've spent a lot of time and money learning how to be visible, how get into the media, and how to get on those large stages. I've been made to feel left behind or not as successful because that hasn't been my story. I didn't have fancy name brand logos to put on my website from being featured "on or in". In fact, the message always seemed to be that you absolutely needed these things for your business to be validated and to experience real growth.
And then ... something happened -- a shift occurred. After a few years of building my business and chasing the giants, I was hired to keynote a conference in place I'd never heard of before. As I met the women who were responsible for organizing the conference as well as those who travelled from different parts of the state to attend, there was a common and recurrent theme. Each person shared they felt the conference was so popular because they realized they tapped an unmet need for the women of the community causing it to be sold out in less than 3 days each year. The energy, excitement and expectation was high as everyone was in anticipation of my message, "Owning Your Courage!" I've done many keynotes before on small and large stages; but this one somehow felt different. There was a feel in the air that was unlike any other I've done or been too.
It was this experience and those conversations that forced me to ask myself "Have I been chasing giants and someone else's definition of success instead of chasing my own purpose?"
Was I traveling the road cut out just for me or was I on the speedway with everyone else? When I arrived it wasn't about being a big named celebrity or internationally known speaker. It wasn't about my social media following or any of the things I'd been taught to establish first. It was about me, Melissa, and the message I had been hired to share -- my message, my voice, my story. A message needed by so many. A honest and transparent message that resonates with anyone who desires to move from where they are to where they want to be. People need real, not just warmed-over popular inspiration. They need relatable and approachable people who can understand and connect to the struggles of their everyday life.
This engagement forever changed my life, my business, and my prayer. My prayer and focus will forever be for God to send me where there are unmet needs. Send me where I am needed not just where it is popular. Send me where people are waiting on my voice, my message, and my story.
Sometimes we have a picture of what success looks like only to be disappointed when it doesn't happen in that way or in our timeline. I don't know what you are chasing in your life, career, or business, but make it a priority to chase your purpose, not giants, and everything else will find you.