nonprofits,local leaders & Grt.New Haven business sharing information
The human mind is crazy! I went from sitting on my couch laughing internally over an old Martin Lawrence show to listening to a sales pitch from Tony Little (the fitness guru) on a live QVC pillow sale, and before I knew it I had my phone in my hand with the number dialed. Anyway, the Martin Lawrence show had a particular character that I took notice of, “Tommy”. I am pretty sure throughout the entire length of the series you never knew what he did for a living. Tommy was always dressed nice, new clothes, accessories and was always the one with cash. The rest of the cast would always try to find out where, when, and how he got what he had. That entire piece of his character’s backstory remained a mystery, but everyone on the show agreed he was somehow “successful”.
Success, what is success? How is it measured? Who measures it? This became my mind’s newest obsession. Unlike other topics, I could not get my mind off these questions. That being said, I did what any educated and modern American would do when faced with an instant craving for information…I GOOGLED it. “Success definition”
noun: success; plural noun: successes
the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
“the president had some success in restoring confidence”
synonyms: favorable outcome, successfulness, successful result, triumph; Hollywood ending
the attainment of popularity or profit.
“the success of his play”
synonyms: prosperity, affluence, wealth, riches, opulence
a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.
“I must make a success of my business”
synonyms: triumph, bestseller, blockbuster, sellout; More
Much like the majority of society, I scanned through the top three results. I was left with lingering questions. Success is defined as someone who achieves desired aims, popularity, or profit. Still, who is the one to say that is the true definition of success? I know I have a lot of questions and not many answers, but I can provide a personal view point towards these definitions as well as give input on how success is measured and who measures success.
See, in today’s day and age many feel like they’re living their life “under a microscope”. We feel constantly in front of the world and easily susceptible to judgment thanks to social media and mass marketing. The measure of success is portrayed, publicized, and sold in very specific ways. This is similar to an individual struggling with their body image, always comparing themselves to others or unrealistic photo-shopped versions of celebrities. People are quick to over analyze their own level of “success” and compare their own accomplishments to others. This mindset will never lead to overall fulfilment rather an individual will be stuck on a never ending ladder of disappointments, because even if one reaches a specific goal it is never good enough. Now you may say that never settling and striving for better results is an excellent way to progress. If we were speaking in general terms you are correct but I’m not. See, if you are able to take a step back and realize where you were and how far you have come and celebrate your accomplishments, then that would be an acceptable manner in which one would continually strive for a goal.
Unfortunately, many people have a hard time recognizing and promoting all the achievements they have reached over time and instead harp on what they have not accomplished. I am speaking from experience because at times I tend to struggle with this myself. As an individual with a noticeable disability I found myself comparing my circumstances to others from the get-go. From youth to adulthood I was always complaining internally “Why didn’t I this”,” Why don’t I that.” Specifically when it came to school and not being up to par with my peers. School never came easy. It took me so long to graduate college that there should be the title Dr. or “Rocket Scientist” before my name. For years I watched my friends and acquaintances graduating and landing jobs with money. The kind of money that got you out of your parent’s house, which was, of course, where I was at that time and an obvious area that I consistently compared to my peers!
Society absolutely factors money as a measure of one’s “success” and if you refer back to my in depth investigative GOOGLE search, one of the definitions referred to the amount of profit that one attains as a direct driver of “success.” My mind bought in to that definition and led me to obsess over the need for a more “successful job”. This continued up until a few years ago, I was so preoccupied with not having the “successful job” that it hindered me from realizing yet again what I had. This kept me from realizing the opportunities within my own employer. A lot of people do this, we need instant gratification and when it’s not provided we look elsewhere for it.
A few years ago, while temporarily employed, I sat on my parents couch surfing the World Wide Web for a more “successful” job. I applied for a position with Ability Beyond in Bethel, CT. Ability Beyond is an Organization that provides resources for individuals of all levels of (dis) abilities so that they may attain personalized independence. My initial role was within one of many of those resource groups known as Career Development. This is where we worked with clients to build upon their personal strength’s and enhance their weaknesses so that they become better equipped to land a career position in a role they would enjoy excelling at. My case load of clients loved me, my colleagues respected me, my manager was always there to provide constructive criticism and most importantly, I was getting my clients jobs. You would think that finally one would be happy, but as a very short time passed I began to slip back to my negative outlook at where I was in my life. I was not making enough money, and all I had in my head was that GOOGLE definition and how money is the driver towards ultimate “success.”
As I plugged along in my position, internally lost, I worked face to face with clients of all ages, status levels, education levels and abilities. One day out of nowhere it just hit me. It was like I had finally GOOGLED the definition and answer to my life! For months I sat across from individuals who met with me for assistance and guidance on how to make personalized improvement and as I educated them, they were educating me.
Success is not something that anyone can measure with definitive accuracy, because a true definition of success is personalized. It is not something that is searched for and found, it is created. In the past when I was harping over what others were doing in life. I was only focusing on tangible items that society marked as status symbols and not actually questioning if obtaining those things would truly make me feel fulfilled. When I was not satisfied with earlier jobs I was quick to think that the only logical solution was to search elsewhere for “success”. You have to evaluate what you yourself view as a successful goal and create attainable milestones. As you reach each milestone celebrate it and cherish your accomplishments. This will provide momentum and help you to realize that you are much further from where you were and even that much closer to where you strive to be. This is easy to write, but not easy to maintain. I find myself slipping up from time to time, but with practice and redirection it could be the difference between a life of fruitless outcomes and a life of promise and progression.
I began to practice what I preached, and within less than three years I had three new roles within Ability Beyond. I could not be more thankful for this organization assisting me in my personal and professional growth. In my current role as Founder of Talk the Walk I provide strategic resources for school systems, companies, and communities to attain all-inclusive environments. This ranges from enrichment programs to strategic initiative development. These initiatives are customized, and implemented to complement the overall needs of our clients. We shift company and community cultures while generating return-on-investment, and increasing efficiency throughout, resulting in a boost in employee/community morale. Our overall goal for each client that we work with is for them to realize there is always Ability beyond disability. As a result they can enjoy a self-sustaining disability and inclusion initiative that becomes engrained in their company and community culture. Every capable and qualified individual willing to work should be provided an opportunity to showcase their ability. Everyone deserves to create their own definition of success!
Blurb about the writer: Richard James Luby, an individual with Cerebral Palsy, is a proud member of the (dis)abled community. He began to recognize that a disability is not a disadvantage, it’s a gift. He utilizes his gifts to advocate, educate, build and unite all individuals so that they have the tools to realize their potential, internally and externally. He promotes personal growth through his loud, in your face, outgoing, yet comforting characteristics