Monday night I was amused as I watched the women of the reality show "Harlem Heights" talk about their views of success. For those who've never heard of it, it's BET's mature answer to the dreaded high school series "Baldwin Hills." The show explores the day to day activities of a few young, urban black professionals living in Harlem, NY. The women are intelligent, fashionistas full of attitude. Yet, as much as I enjoy all the flavor and controversy, I've often wondered how much of their spirit was actually in me? What began as a simple conversation about each of their professional walks became an internal dialogue within myself. And I reflected on all of the dreams I had when I was there age simply journeying through "Corporate America." Was I just as concerned as they were about reaching the "glass ceiling" or was I simply enjoying life as it came? As much as I would love to say I shattered the glass, this really wasn't the case.
When one of the characters shared her thoughts on not having accomplished any goals before reaching thirty, I was amazed. Here was a beautiful woman who was college educated, with management experience and well on her way to becoming a major force in the production world. Yet, this still wasn't enough.
Perhaps some of us are still making the mistake of equating "success" by the amount of money we make, the car we drive, the home we live in and the people we know. No doubt we've all been there. And while I agree that many of these things are necessary none of them define who we are. In my early twenties I was blessed with a lucrative sales position. I was working in pharmaceuticals and able to vacation, dine, and shop any time I wanted. But while the dollars satisfied my pocket they didn't satisfied my soul because all of it came with a tremendous cost. I wasn't saving a dime and had no concern about my future. All I wanted to do was enjoy my new found life. Was I selfish or just plain stupid? I guess only I can be the judge. Back then I was so caught up in the hype of having "things" that I was losing the very thing that was most important....me! My lessons in life became humbling experiences and opportunities to draw closer to God. In dew season I pray that I continue to dew better and continuously acknowledge that the secret of success is based only on who defines it therefore I'll choose to define myself.