My Own Ruler for Measuring Success

If you do a bit of googling (which you’re probably doing anyway), I’m sure you will find plenty of articles about success. It might be tips for how to succeed, stories of how someone else already did, or inspiring tidbits for those who aren’t feeling motivated.

This isn’t really any of those.

I had a conversation recently about how success is measured. I made this absolutely crazy statement about how I don’t equate money with success, and I got some major side-eye followed by an outright rejection of my theory. No, they said, they definitely wanted to get paid and get paid well in order to consider themselves successful.

I get that. I mean, money shouldn’t be everything, but it kind of is. If you want a new car or a nice house, you must have some way of paying for it, right? And nothing is cheap these days. So in this sense, yes, money is how you know you’re successful.

But what a terrible cage that puts you in. If you make good money but you hate your job, then you’re successful? If you make good money but you never have time for your family, then you’re successful? If you make good money but it’s killing you in the process, then you’re successful?

Don’t get me wrong, I like making money. I’m not interested in working for free, because I have bills to pay, children to feed, and Doctor Who merchandise to buy. But I don’t think it’s okay to be a slave to the almighty dollar while sacrificing everything else that’s important in life.

I’ve never had a lot of money. (I mean, seriously. If you know me, you know that I have never had money.) As a freelance writer, I’m sure not raking it in. But I do feel successful. How is my success measured?


I get paid to do what I love.

I get to work from home, which means I am always here for my family.

My clients come back to me for repeat business, which is a huge compliment.

My husband has done nothing but support and encourage me in this endeavor.

My stress levels are pretty low.

My schedule is flexible.

I’m happy.


For me, all of this adds up to something that is worth so much more than a six-figure job. Would I turn down a multi-million dollar book deal? Heck, no. But I don’t need one to know that I’m successful.


Measure success



Filed under Family, Finances, On Writing, Work, Work-at-Home Mom

8 responses to “My Own Ruler for Measuring Success

  1. Being happy with what you do for a living is so important. But I understand the struggle — at the end of the day, we all need money to survive. I’ve taken a couple of writing gigs that I didn’t like for one reason or another because the money was decent. I think the ability to pick and choose work comes as you get more established. As a newbie, I don’t have as much of a choice right now. I’m hoping that will change one day. 🙂

    • I’ve taken writing jobs that I wasn’t crazy about (or event that I wasn’t sure I could do) just because I needed to get some writing credits or because I needed the money. I’ve learned a lot from those jobs! But I really try to pick and choose, because this is supposed to be my dream job, after all. 🙂 Good luck to you!

    • Ashley I would love to know how one can get writing engagement, especially when starting off? I have tried tried it before without success.

      • There are quite a few freelancing websites out there, like Freelancer and Upwork. It took a little while for me to get started, and the first few jobs didn’t pay much. Also, the more credits you have to your name the better! Good luck!

  2. Sometimes the idea of sketching or writing down whatever is in my head is satisfaction enough. Nice post. Have a wonderful day! Peace.

  3. I’ve always made my living by writing stuff that wasn’t what I really enjoy writing while, at the same time, churning out poems, stories, epic poems, novels, and non-fiction. But I’m actually proud of the work I’ve done for money. It has helped American Indian students succeed in going after their dreams for a college education and a good career, helped tribal colleges succeed, and created a legacy I’m proud of having lived. Money isn’t everything, and if you are willing to work hard enough, you can have more of life than your share. I enjoyed the message in this post and agree with what you say.

    • Thomas, I guess I share something similar with you. I am working on a job to get me going as I developed my writing skills which will help me serve the world better in future as I make money from the field. I would love to know how you have managed in your situation.

  4. Wow! Ashley that is what I look forward to having. I would want to do what I love and make money out of it. I will keep striving to develop myself to appoint where I can be really successful. This is an important piece of advice Ashley.

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