Friday, October 8, 2010

The Measure of Success

A year ago today I quite my job at Columbia River Bank and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. It was a surreal feeling as I hung up the phone knowing that in a few short days I would be packing my truck and making a move that I'd been praying for, for almost ten years.

So much has gone on in the last year it would take a book to chronicle. As is so often the case, with each year gone by we examine ourselves and our situation in hopes that we are farther along than we were the year before. "Am I closer to my goal?" To answer that question you have to first know what that goal is and how to measure success. By the worlds standards, I'm farther away from "success" than I've ever been.

A year ago I owned two vehicles, had a secure semi-well paying job, a house all to myself, money in the bank and some level of freedom. Today my 30 year old truck needs new tires, I'm renting a room in someone else's house, I write articles for a living ranging from $100-$300 and whatever money I have in the bank is committed to paying next months bills.

Depending on your perspective, you might scratch you head and ask "Seth, what are you doing?" To many, my present situation is less than appealing and certainly isn't much to brag about. Most of my friends are married and many are starting to have kids. That season of my life is so far out of the question it seems almost comical to even consider.
Some mornings I wake up asking myself if I made the right choice. I have no guarantee of success, just a passion for what I'm doing and a vision for the future that seems to keep evolving. By this point, certainly after my trip to Texas last July, I'd hoped to be well on my way to some level of stardome. The "plan" was to become a superstar in the action sports world and become one of the sports elite. Didn't quite work out that way.

So now what? Do I limp back to the corporate world since I'm "educated" in a particular field? Do I move on to other avenues since I couldn't quite measure up as I had hoped to? Again, based on your definition of success, most wouldn't use that to describe the last year of my life. As I sit here planning my next move, scrambling around the pacific northwest for a week in hopes of finding the next peice, I'm reflecting on the last year and wondering just what exactly have I accomplished?

If accomplishment is the definition of success, than I've failed miserable. If experience fits the definition then I feel as though I can die a happy man. In the last year I have seen and done things that I only considered in my dreams. Example. I visited some friends in Corvalis recently and they had a poster of a guy upside down on a quad hanging on the wall (Caleb Moore). It's comical to me to know that the guy in the poster took me to the hospital after I crashed and nearly killed myself. I never thought I'd actually meet the guy, let alone hang out at his house for two weeks with he and the entire team of riders.

I had always hoped that one day before I die I could attend the Baja 1000 and witness the Matlock racing team continue to dominate the sport. In the last year I've served on their pit crew twice and each time the night before the race got to sit down and enjoy a pre-race BBQ with the whole family. DEFINITELY never saw that coming!

Those are just two of the countless experiences I've been blessed with in the last year and it's those experiences that I measure my success by. In terms of achieving my end goal (not even sure what that is any more) I wouldn't say I'm particularly successful, but if success is measured by satisfaction, fulfillment and joy, I'd say I'm living in the overflow.

I look at the last year as purely a gift. I cannot begin to describe the excitement I feel with regards to the experiences I've had and the people I've met in the last year. No, I don't know what tommorrow will bring. I don't know what the future holds, but I trust that this gift is from God and it is the clearest example I have that the Lord truly does "delight in giving us the desires of our heart." (Psalm 37:4)

Many might not understand my measure of success. Most people think I'm crazy for getting excited at the sound of an engine or the smell of race gas and exhaust fumes, but I do. Thats what makes me tick and it's the experiences revolving around this industry that make me come alive. It will be interesting to see how "successful" the next year is but if its anything like the last one, I'm in for a wild ride and I can't even begin to guess what it will entail!

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