What does success mean to you?

They say success means something different to everyone and that there’s no one-size-fits-all definition.

In my early 20s when I had no clue what to do with my life (arguably still don’t), the last thing on my mind was prioritizing financial security. The one thing of utmost importance was discovering myself and exploring the world.

Now in my mid 30s, I’ve realized that while in no way does money define a successful life, “a sound and financial footing is the underpinning of a happy and contented life.”

I believe a successful life involves some kind of combination of the following:

  • seeking out and following through on personal and professional opportunities
  • getting paid to do work you find fulfilling in some way
  • having the courage to live life on your own terms
  • self-care, balance, necessary boundary setting
  • love and laughter (e.g. with family and friends)

What does success mean to you?

How I’ve been tackling the tricky task of finding a mentor

If cold emailing isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it. There are alternative ways to go about finding a mentor, some of which I’m currently experimenting with.

Mentorship is important to me as I feel I’d benefit from it not just in terms of professional growth, but personal development too. 

Yet the question of how to go about finding a mentor has been an ongoing struggle. I still haven’t really been successful in finding one, despite all the dos and don’ts I’ve read on the topic.

One tip is to approach someone who’s already familiar with your personality and abilities rather than a stranger. But what if you don’t feel anyone in your network would be a natural fit as your mentor? 

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The problem with asking “what do you do?”

Me in 2011 on top of the Devil’s Marbles, a rock formation in the Australian Outback.

Lots of people have written about the importance of not letting your job title define you and I am finally chiming in. After recently reading the blink of a book called Minimalism, which argues among other things that each person is far more than just her profession, I realized I myself am guilty of asking people I meet the annoying question, “what do you do?”

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Not just a journalist

Mountain biking in the Harz region in Germany circa 2015.

One key thing I’ve learned as a job seeker is that my identity isn’t entirely defined by my profession. Realizing this has been helpful for me in dealing with the ups and downs of carving out a career for myself (without the slightest idea how to go about doing it).

So yes, I’m a journalist, but I’m also…

  • a thrill-seeker
  • an avid reader of fictional literature
  • a mountain biker
  • a linguist
  • a nonconformist
  • a weight lifter
  • a mentor for those looking to go abroad
  • an artist / creative content creator
  • a baker
  • a vintage moped owner
  • a future motorcyclist
  • a former Corporate, Culture & English Trainer
  • a cosmopolite
  • an amateur cook
  • a trained graphic designer
  • a liberalist
  • a diary keeper
  • a chocolate enthusiast
  • a runner
  • etc.