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Apr 5, 2022·edited Apr 5, 2022Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

I really get this. I love "but doing it in a much calmer and more accepting way" - yes! I first quit the "up or out" job when I was 28. I think that's when I started to understand I was someone who loved to create things - not manage things (couldn't name it at all then, I just knew I didn't want what I had). But next job they couldn't help themselves, kept promoting me. At 35 quit that job decided to become a golf pro (teacher). Accomplished that but then found myself in a world I didn't much like and it was a hard way to make a living. Went back to doing corporate work as a consultant - making things. Again got promoted, hated dealing with corporate management. Quit. Last year at 53 it happened again. I had been clear with this job - I want to create things and do the work not become management. Ended up quitting - for a few weeks, then they finally understood what I wanted and why they needed to keep me and we restructured my job again.

We have a ridiculous weird world that doesn't want to pay for craft and well-honed skill over time (in almost every way - look at cookie-cutter art, cheaply made furniture, etc. etc.) but thinks they should pay managers big bucks. Of course managers that mostly have never honed their craft are running things.

What was different for me this time was I was much more accepting that this IS what makes me happy and what I want to do. If I had stayed with the management path I could probably have retired a decade ago - and now I don't know how I'll ever fully retire. But. I. Could. Not. It has taken me a very long while to accept this.

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Jun 5, 2022Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

Please keep writing, your work inspires me.

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Spot on Katie. There are so many measures of success that make us strive more and more to be better and better, but we are actually all worth it without being 'successful'. Great post.

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Absolutely agree with the pointlessness of comparing current self with past self through the lens of perpetual “improvement”.

On the other hand, the problem might lie with our chosen yardstick, right? I mean, what really constitutes improvement?🤷🏻‍♀️

The best part about aging is the increasing comfort with the concept of “f*ck it”...in this case “it” being: unrealistic expectations - others’ and my own.😎

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"For me, success is taking a different route, one that allows me to meander, enjoy the scenery, and not push myself too hard." Lovely. So echo these thoughts Katie. Thank you. Having gone hugely off piste last year (finally left a job that was draining the life out of me, then my beloved husband died...) I'm finding my way into joy. Joy I've not known before. To the outsider... such a wilderness. That's how it felt to me for a while, I'll admit. Now... I'm starting to imagine the desert in bloom... Sending you every encouragement.

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Apr 6, 2022Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

I loved this Katie! (Well, I love all your posts but this one especially 😊 thanks for the post.) Here my answers to your questions:

What does success look like for you?

It used to look a lot different than it does now. Success for Student Val was getting a job at top consulting firm BCG and making lots and lots of money and climbing the career ladder to the very top faster than anyone else could. Success for 33-year-old Val is having the freedom to do whatever I want, which usually involves lazing around on the sofa and cafe-hopping. (And a top consulting job that leaves me no life is certainly not what I want now.)

Are you at a place in life where you expected to be? Why or why not?

I am most certainly not where I expected to be. I could never have imagined working fully remotely for an author whose writing I love, translating subtitles as a paid hobby, writing a newsletter for my own readers, and teaching students to "pay it forward" with my English skills, or living abroad in Vietnam with my incredible partner. All these things happened with no planning, each a pleasant surprise, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in life. (Well, until the next surprise happens and I find myself somewhere new and as yet unknown, of course.)

How does reflecting on success make you feel?

It makes me feel content. I feel like I've defined success for myself: working few hours, pursuing my own projects, having the time and head space to fully enjoy life. And based on these metrics, I am very successful. It's such a different success to what I wanted as a younger person, and I am so very glad I've grown out of those notions.

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Apr 5, 2022Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

Love this! It’s what’s been on my mind lately.

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Apr 5, 2022Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

You are an amazing success by any measure, Katie, and I'm so grateful that you have been sharing your journey with us so openly. You've helped me and so many others in many, many ways.

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Apr 5, 2022Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

Amen: “success is taking a different route, one that allows me to meander, enjoy the scenery, and not push myself too hard.”

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Apr 5, 2022Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

Thank you so much for sharing this, Kate!

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Love this mentality. I’d call it living slowly (vs living fast). Thanks for sharing your experience.

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deletedApr 6, 2022Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar
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