Guilty by Association: Tips by the Successful #SuccessProject #3

Guilty by association?  Yes, please!At this moment, I can only hope I am guilty by association. I am in a room full of not only successful athletes, but successful people. We are having a team meeting, and I am with my professional women’s cycling team, Exergy TWENTY16. There is no shortage of extremely successful women and those on the cusp of greatness as I am surrounded by Olympic medals, world champions, mothers, lawyers, doctors, students, and educators, which all seem to supersede the obvious correlated success of just being a professional female athlete. Can’t you just feel the strength, independence, and determination? This is one of those times as you sit there, you can only hope you are in fact guilty by association.

By surrounding yourself with extremely successful people, you can challenge your own drive and confidence, and also ensure a healthy dose of humility. You can be bolstered and inspired by their accomplishments, or you can cower under your own expectations and stipulations.

As I looked around the room, I thought I could utilize this opportunity to ask some of my teammates, what their own definition of success is to be able to share with the #SuccessProject. That’s what this is all about, right? What does success mean to you. This was a prime chance to try to refine how an Olympic champion and some of my role models view success. Is it confined within their athletic accomplishments, or is it something more?

How does a professional athlete (in this case a female professional cyclist) define success?

Here are a couple of answers from my teammates…

Being you. When my teammate jokingly responded “just being me”, I realized that there was truth to that statement, and if you are confident in who you are, your accomplishments and even your failures, you are successful. Success is just being you.

Personal satisfaction. Your successes don’t have to be other people’s successes or expectations, they are only your own. You own them. As long as you have found your personal satisfaction in what you strive to do, and can find pride in your efforts, you have found success. Only you can define this, and only you will know when you reach this.

Throwing the first pitch at a Colorado Rockies game. Even professional athletes have heroes and role models, and can be fans of other sports for the pure thrill and simplicity of sport and competition. Personally, I am not a great spectator, but have much respect for all competitors.

Picture in Time magazine. External motivators aren’t necessarily a bad thing. You can have a goal to be recognized by the media for your achievements. It may not completely represent success, but it will be a good benchmark that you are making a difference in what you are doing. For instance, I would love to make women’s cycling more recognizable to the masses, and when opportunities are presented and exemplified, or I am able to contribute, I know I am at least moving forward.


Success = Happiness. You will know it when you find it. If you are happy doing what you are doing, you are successful.  It may be graphic design, finance, teaching, or Pilates. Success is found in your approach and the inner joy you find within your purpose. You can’t fake that.


If you learn, it’s successful. Anytime you are given the chance to learn, you are successful. Success is not always found in success. It is found in growth and learning. Don’t take any of these opportunities for granted. Learn from your failures, learn from your successes, and give yourself time to absorb these treasured moments.

 Don’t forget to post a success definition via twitter and tag #successproject to help me raise money for CAF!
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