Success is quite a large part of our culture; we are told that to do well in life we must be successful in our jobs, careers, relationships, wealth and health, and to achieve success in any area of life is something to be praised. I for one agree that any success attained is amazing, but has the term changed its meaning and become a massive burden for those who want success without finding it attainable?

Defining what success is ultimately falls on us – success may be a promotion to CEO of a company where you earn six figures every annum, or having your work published in a national newspaper. It may be completing an hour’s workout after being made to sit out of exercise for months, or it might even be getting through the day without crying and feeling like today was relatively okay or manageable. Success is defined by the individual and their personal goals, what they can strive for, however more than ever I find myself lost in terms of success and whether what I’m doing even seems worthy.

Talking about personal topics is something I reserve nowadays for people who know me well enough or who I feel I can trust, I don’t enjoy complaining and I dislike being a burden yet how can you solve a possible mid-twenties (no, scratch that, very early twenties) breakdown without talking to someone? What I should point out first is recently I’ve felt my social skills have been quite…lacking; I’ve found myself in difficulty when articulating speech which frustrates me beyond belief, and if I’m quite honest, I don’t think I know how to be comfortable and normal around people anymore, I don’t feel like I know who I am. Even just writing that out has caused me to burst into tears. Last week I met up with some lovely friends of mine and in the back of my mind the whole time I was constantly thinking ‘am I okay? Do I sound right? Am I being offensive or is what I’m saying really negative and off-putting? Do these people even really like me enough?’. I’m one extreme or another – I will tell you everything about myself without even thinking of how I’m sounding, later sinking into a general feeling of malaise and cringing at my obvious social skill faux pas, or I will dissimulate my character to pretend everything is okay so I don’t come across as someone who is honestly desperate for some reassurance and a shoulder to cry on.

But what does this have to do with success? Well, to me success is being a well-rounded positive individual who achieves across the board whilst being able to balance life, social events, health and that everything they do comes fro their own skills and drive of passion and determination. Well, in the last two weeks I have not been feeling 100% the positive person I project myself to be (see, dissimulating my character) and I have felt so frustrated at the work I’ve been producing that I almost feel everything I’ve said or done is a lie.
In the past week, I’ve seen a few people make the big step into full-time blogging which has been met with praise and it’s bloody brilliant, I’m so pleased for them as they’ve worked very hard. Yet now it makes me question my position in blogging – due to my circumstances, is it fair for me to call myself a full-time blogger when I don’t have the same outreach or influence as others? Am I lying to myself and everyone else by saying I work full-time on this blog and do other ventures when it probably isn’t even a fraction of what everyone else is achieving? Don’t get me wrong, I adore what I do, this is the happiest I’ve been in years yet it’s also been the loneliest and most challenging for so many reasons that I don’t feel comfortable going into now, but where is the line? Where does what I do become okay to call a job, to be determined enough of a success to earn real income from it and to feel that people actually enjoy what I do?

As I said before, I don’t really like to complain but as one of my characterful blunders has proven to me in the past week, when I do slip up I find it comes out quite gauche and I internally smack myself on the head when people give me an odd look, so I’m going to attempt from today onwards to get myself back on the path of positivity by focusing on what kind of success I have achieved, what is achievable in the short-term and what I would love to achieve in the future:

Achievements To Remember and Be Proud Of

1. On your own terms, time and skill set you were featured in a magazine. By putting dead flowers in your hair. Remember that.
2. You quit your job because you knew there was something better, less money, but better.
3. You’ve been the sole person to work on this blog and everything that has grown from it has come from inside your head, your heart and your passion.
4. Remember when you had a poem published in Year 4? That was pretty cool wasn’t it? Remember that.
5. Oh yeah, and that A* in Photography, you finally found something you were good at in school.
6. And when you finally got an A in an Art module, took you about 4 years but you did it.
7. Remember when you drove to Devon only a few months after passing your test? You were a nervous wreck but you did it (albeit not well when you were stuck on a hill).
8. What about all the times you’ve thought ‘oh I’d love that or I’d love to win that’ and then you did? Come on Lauren.
9. You also learnt a minute of piano by yourself – well done on managing your patience.

Short-Term Success (or, things I could manageable attain in the next 6 months)

1. 1000 blog followers – it’s taken you since July 2013 but hey, you wanted organic growth so here it is.

2. 1000 Instagram followers – maybe, possibly, I do only post images of porridge though but it would be nice to gain more.

3. 500 YouTube followers – my channel is doing quite okay although I’m still finding myself, but I’d like to think that my videos will grow as well as my audience.

4. Defining my career or future job – I’d like to think that within 6 months something lands on my desk and it really kickstarts the next step in my career, and I hope it’s also blooming amazing too.

5. Learn the remaining 4 minutes of that piano piece, you’ll get there, just make some time.

6. Go on holiday, because you’ve been working for nearly two years straight and I think if you don’t you will have a breakdown.

7. Put your brain training and language skills to the test and try to be a bit more cultural and articulate, being on the internet as much as you are has made your speech go a bit doolally.

Future Success I Hope to Achieve

1. To have finally settled in a place where I can progress myself and start a fresh.

2. To have have written an e-Book on positivity, healthy lifestyle or photography tips.

3. To have hit 10,000 blog followers and be able to make an impact on people’s lives.

4. To finally realise everything is okay and that you’ll find a way.

5. To attend SITC, VidCon and Playlist because, hey, why not? I’d love to have inspired people that much.

6. To post two videos a week on my channel, and maybe blog more regularly.

7. To start advertising on my blog (hopefully people like me enough to want to) and to earn a nice little income from my content.

8. To travel – I put this off so much, and I want to finally have the time and components to go visit Paris, Italy, Barcelona, the Maldives, Tokyo, America, Morocco, Bali and just more of Europe in general.

9. I want to inspire people, to share a story and to be relatable to others, so I want to feel in 5 years time I can look back and say ‘yes, I’m pleased with what I’ve contributed to the world’.

10. I want to leave a legacy.

I was watching a YouNow by danisnotonfire the other week and he had a brilliant thought on why YouTubers or people on the internet have an identity crisis: people can earn money from the content they create, where people can do whatever they want without working for TV or other media, but algorithms and the way the internet optimises popularity and numbers causes people to have a huge breakdown because their watch time isn’t as high as those who have either longer videos or more subscribers. People let go of what they want to be to fit the mould of what people expect of bloggers or YouTubers, and that’s not right; you cannot compare yourself to those who don’t want to play by your rule or you theirs, everyone has their own creative vision and you can only compare yourself to those who play a similar game (no bloody wonder I’ve been feeling sad!)

People shouldn’t feel obligated to play ‘the game’ and put themselves under pressure to do the best thing, we should make our own rules and create our content so that we love the finished result and feel proud of what we achieve. That, looking back, is what I really define as success.

So, the long and short of this ‘What is Success’ post? I’m in the midst of a life/blog/culture identity crisis but I know now what I want to achieve, and to achieve it on my own and through to growth of my ideas and content will be what I determine as success. Whether I earn money, gain followers, experience new opportunities or end up working myself to the bone with no sleep but being immensely happy throughout, finding my way and making myself the one awesome, amazing version of myself is the best thing I can do. I want my words, my content, my ideas to be different to everyone else, I want to post something that no one has done before or describes it in a way that makes you go ‘OHMYWORD I am so inspired by this, I’ve not seen anything interpreted like this!’ so that’s what I’m going to do, and it may take some time to translate on my blog but it’ll come, and I hope you can all stick around for it too. Success, I’m coming for you.

How do you define success? What have you achieved in terms of success? Have you have an identity crisis yet?

Lots of Love,

Lauren x

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Brighton based Photographer, photographing your fave bloggers by day and testing the best vegan/cruelty-free skincare by night.


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