Saturday, November 10, 2012

What is Success to Me?

This post comes to you by way of a 20 something blogger prompt. They posed the questions:
  • What is success?
  • What does it mean to be successful?
  • How do you want to be successful?
and I kind of love those questions. Here's why.

When I think of success, in a big picture sort of way, I often think of it as being something many many years down the road for me... I mean I'm looking at a couple more years to finish this PhD and likely up to 5 years post doc work, before hopefully getting an academic position somewhere. The end of my career path is something so far off, it's hard to see, or more importantly see the steps that will get me there.

This may just be my personal outlook, or a result of taking the grad school route; but I think its something that many people of my generation can relate to. I mean more and more of us are staying in schooling until our late 20s, and even with that will change career paths a couple times...Success just seems far off to the average 20-something (or once again, maybe that's just me).

So I think that we need to instead look at smaller successes, the little milestones rather than the big picture.

Do I consider myself a successful person?

  • Well I have a B.Sc. Hons in Biology and Pharmacology from a great school (McMaster).
  • I am pursuing a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at a great school (U Calgary).
  • My studies are fully funded by the provincial government through a grant I was awarded (highly competitive)
  • I have 3 publications to show for work I did during undergrad.
  • I've travelled to national and international conferences to discuss my science with some of the leaders in my field.
  • I have a work life I love (despite the stress sometimes) a home life I love, a family I love.
  • I am perfectly happy with where I am and who I am right now.
So yeah overall I consider myself a successful person. But there a lot's of milestones ahead of me... things I still want/need to accomplish. People and peers whom I look up to and wish to emulate (professionally and personally). I think the big picture on success is that it's often not tangible to look forwards too, but rather something that you should reflect back on.

(Although today I am looking forward to success with the western blots I'm finishing on a weekend... and hopefully I'll be able to reflect back on it when I show them proudly to my supervisor next's hoping!)


  1. I have always found this such a difficult question to answer. i'm always changing or always unsure of how i would define success. i often try to think of it as being content with yourself and the decisions you've made in your life. i think success is just so subjective, because everyone is different, and wants different things.

    i feel that i've been fairly successful in my life, but i'm always challenging myself to do more.

    it's great that you've accomplished so much! congratulations. i think you should certainly feel successful about your life when you've accomplished great things and are still happy with who you are and what you're doing, even if you have more you want to do.

    nice blog, and great post. interesting food for thought. how have you been, dear? i hope all is well and you're enjoying your weekend.

    xox, amber

    1. Thanks for all the lovely words! I think part of feeling successful is still wanting more for yourself! I've been great despite having the above mentioned blot turn out crap (oooh well) and have been having a great weekend for sure! Thanks for stopping by amber!

  2. Great post! You've definitely accomplished a lot and it's obvious that it's only the tip of the iceberg. I have no idea what a western blot is but have fun with it!

    1. Thanks! I hope it's the tip of the iceberg too!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. This is such a great topic. I believe it's up to an individual to define success for themselves. Success is also ever changing. Before I was married, I never considered getting married as part of my picture of success. Now that I have, it has to be part of my definition. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments!

    1. I couldn't agree with you more, that success is a changing concept! Thanks!


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