The True Meaning of Success

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Choose your focus and make sure it isn't where your fears live.

Screenshot of an interview with Tammy Hamawi for Women's Words

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I’m reminded by the movie City Slickers (1991), where the character played by Jack Palance is offering life advice to Billy Crystal about happiness. The scene starts with Palance asking Crystal, “Do you know what the secret of life is?”

No matter how big or how busy my life ever got, that scene forced me to reflect on what I felt is the secret for my own life’s happiness. I knew for me it was not about ‘finding my one true purpose’ as I had already a developed sense of purpose within everything I did. It was not ‘reaching a level of income’ as I instinctively knew that for me, being wealthy had nothing to do with money. The answer for me was ‘to find balance’.

Armed with that focus and 22 years later, when I reflect on everything I have achieved, I am exactly where I want to be in my life. I feel blessed and very excited by life and all its twists and turns. I contribute this to the fact that I feel complete within my own skin and have dedicated time to grow and experience life in all the areas be it business, relationships, education, motherhood, health, and adventure. I am still very hungry and ambitious about unaccomplished dreams and have many more lessons to learn. However, that only makes the future ‘a yet to be discovered adventure’.

Looking at 2012 and the unarguable force shift that has enveloped the world for over three years, I am fascinated at how much we intellectually know what we need to feel successful and wealth, yet we still fail to do so in our daily lives through the decisions we make.

“…I am fascinated at how much we intellectually know what we need to feel successful and wealthy, yet we still fail to do so in our daily lives through the decisions we make.”

Tammy Hamawi
Director of Tribunity

Choose your focus and make sure it isn’t where your fears live.” Regardless of whether your life has been in service of others, it’s just starting out, in corporate, or you have been in business, it is impossible to feel wealthy and successful if you are measuring it the wrong way.

For example, being wealthy is not the same as having money. If you earn a lot of money and blow it every year, you’re not wealthy. Wealth is not about what you earn or spend. Money doesn’t buy genuine love or friendship. It won’t restore your health, fix your marriage, turn you into a ‘success’, or gain the respect of your kids and peers.

I read once that “true wealth is a life rich in love, friends, projects, and interests.” How true is that for you?

Like me, you may know ‘rich’ individuals who lives are impoverished. They are so obsessed with competing, winning, and having ‘more’ that they have little time for anyone or anythin else.

Other so called ‘successful’ people are less obsessive but remain trapped in stressful, hectic lives. They lack something far more precious than money: time.

We all get the same amount of time, yet we each have a different way of spending it. I make time.

What does it matter how much you make or how prestigious your title is if you spend your days rushing from one appointment to the next, stressed by deadlines and continually interrupting conversations and meals for emails and phone calls?

That is not a wealthy life. As an old Chinaman once observed, “man in hurry cannot walk with dignity.”

You know that to become a disciplined saver, you have to put aside $$ on a regular basis. That means setting aside a percentage of your income before you pay the rent, buy groceries, or shop. If you want until you’ve bought everything you want, there is usually little left to save. To avoid this, we pay ourselves first. We put aside the money needed to save.

Time is similar. If you intend to spend more time on leisure, or with your closest friends and family, or in other high-value activities once you get everything done, that moment remains elusive. Important but less urgent activities take a back seat to urgent but less important ones. So we have to make first things first. Following through, of course, is everything.

A genuinely successful life is not about income, assets, or possessions. It’s about living your life your way. And to do this you must discover who you are, your life purpose. You must create balance in your financial, spiritual, physical, and mental life. You should always live in the moment and most of all find humor everyday and forgive yourself and others. That is what I found is my true meaning of success.

Dare to be happy today.

Tammy Hamawi

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“You are not a drop in the ocean,
you are the entire ocean in a drop”

– 13thcentury Persian poet Rumi