The time has arrived for another engaging conversation with the popular “Ask the Expert” feature on The Other Side of Organized blog. We’ve enjoyed spirited dialogues about enlisting help with Janet Barclay, motivation with Dr. Shannon Reece, time management with Julie Morgenstern, clutter with Lorie Marrero, letting go with Geralin Thomas, next steps with Yota Schneider, and change with John Ryan. This month as we shift our focus, I’m excited to bring you writer, student of life and community builder, Lori Deschene to share her wisdom about success.
Lori appeared on my radar through Twitter a few years ago. Her uplifting and honest @tinybuddha tweets and posts that focus on “simple wisdom for complex lives” seemed to always appear at precisely the right time. I quickly became one of her fans along with her 300,000+ twitter followers. Talk about success! My sincere gratitude and thanks goes to Lori for taking the time to join us. Before we begin, here’s more about Lori.
Lori Deschene is the founder of tinybuddha.com, a community blog that features stories and insights from people from all over the globe. She recently published her first print book (through Conari Press), titled Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions. A native of Massachusetts and an Emerson College graduate, Lori currently lives with her boyfriend in Los Angeles. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, website, or blog.
Linda: You’re an expert on redefining life success by reflecting on simple wisdom and considering new ways to apply it. What are some of the ways to do this?
Lori: I actually wouldn’t refer to myself as an expert on redefining life success—but what a wonderful compliment! I write about my experiences and lessons, and publish stories and insights from other people. We all help and support each other by sharing what we’ve learned.
To answer your question, I’d have to first define “life success,” which is different for everyone. If you’re looking to create your own definition of “life success,” I’d suggest identifying your top five core values, and measuring them against your current choices.
For example, my core values are: family, adventure, freedom, creativity, and meaningful work. Knowing this has helped me build a career and shape a lifestyle that honors the things that matter to me the most.
Linda: What does success look like?
Lori: Expanding on what I wrote above, success, for me, involves doing work that feels meaningful, creating in a way that feels personally satisfying, allowing myself enough time to explore and simply be, and seeing my family as often as possible.
I can’t answer this one for anyone else, and I think that’s the key to success: knowing we all define it for ourselves!
Linda: How does our “fast-paced, always-on world” enhance or derail our success?
Lori: This depends on what we want, and how we respond to the world around us. Some people require less downtime and enjoy leading fast-paced, constantly connected lives. So long as they’re not compromising their other priorities or their physical or emotional well being, there’s nothing wrong with that. Others spread themselves a little too thin, thinking they “should” do it, and fearing what they’ll lose if they don’t. Others still, like myself, require a greater sense of balance. For me, getting caught up in a busy lifestyle while pursuing success, as defined by other people, would lead to a sense of unhappiness.
I’ve learned that there are very few one-size-fits-all answers. We all need to come to know ourselves and learn to temper our pace accordingly. And we all need to find stillness within so that, no matter the pace we maintain, we don’t lose sight of what we need.
Linda: Do you have a philosophy about success?
Lori: At the risk of being redundant, my philosophy is that we each need to define it for ourselves!
Linda: What has been your biggest personal challenge with navigating success?
Lori: My biggest personal challenge has been determining what success means to me. For a long time, I had no idea what I wanted, largely because I didn’t know myself—or like myself, for that matter.
Growing up, I always thought I’d pursue acting after studying it (and writing) in college. I gravitated toward theater not simply because I loved it, although I did. A big part of me needed the validation of an audience, and wondered if maybe I’d feel less empty if I acquired fame, wealth, and mass admiration. It took me a long time to consider that maybe I could be happier if I stopped pursuing public approval and chasing wealth.
Now I focus on enjoying my time and honoring the people and things that matter to me. I still have my struggles, particularly when it comes to setting goals for the future. I haven’t been 100 percent sure of what I want to do next. But I know I feel less attached to specifics down the line.
I like the life I created, and I like myself within it.
Linda: Is there anything you’d like to share about success that I haven’t asked?
Lori: You asked some thought-provoking questions! I have nothing left to add. Thank you for featuring me here on your wonderful site!
You’re welcome, Lori. Thank you for your thoughtful insights about success and life choices. I love how you describe that we need to define success by our own terms. To do that, first identify your core values and then look at them in relation to your current choices. What a great place to begin. I invite all of you to join Lori and me as we continue the conversation. What are your thoughts about success?