A letter to my daughters about success

Ashley Scrivner

To my sweet girls Reagan, Emma & Hadley

As you grow up you’ll think about what you want to become and what you hope to accomplish in life. People will often talk about success, and you’ll probably spend a lot of time daydreaming about the future you want. Most often when people discuss success they do so in terms of careers and finances. And while I’m MORE than happy to help you navigate finding success in the career you've chosen, I encourage you to also pay attention to a different kind of success–success in life. When I was younger I didn’t quite see the distinction between career success and success in life, but the difference is HUGE and to be truly happy you’ll have to understand that. I am by no means saying you can’t have both, but you will need to consider them both in light of each other in order to find your own version of success.

If I’m being honest with you girls, I may not always feel so successful. There are days when I let my to-do list dictate my priorities and I forget to breath. There are numerous times when I question whether I’ve made the right choices with my life. And there are moments when I just don’t want to accept that I can’t have it all. Truthfully there are many times when I’m certain I’ve failed completely. Failed not only you but myself. Our minds have a way of creating self-doubt, and it takes a very strong woman to quiet the various doubts running through her mind and instead focus on the positive things she’s created in her life. You 3 are the greatest and most positive things I have in my life!

You should know that being successful doesn’t mean living without doubts or being happy all of the time. Unfortunately that’s just not possible. How you handle those doubts and struggles however does have an impact on whether or not you will be successful. 

To be successful in life, a woman needs to…

Know herself and her priorities The only way to focus on what you really want in life is to truly understand your own personality, needs, and aspirations. When you are clear about those, you can begin creating the life you want.

Be confident in her decisions Unfortunately knowing yourself and your priorities isn’t enough. You’ll find that often some of these are at odds with one another, and you’ll have to pick and choose which priorities rank highest on your list at different times in your life. Once you decide, own your decisions and don’t apologize for them!

Work hardSimple, but so important. Whatever you choose to do, do it well. Create your brand 

Embrace that things may not go as planned. Success is often thought of as a checklist of things we hope to accomplish. There will be times–for a variety of reasons–when that list crumbles and you’ll find yourself on a completely new path. This can happen often! Don’t fight it!

Use setbacks as learning opportunities. Accepting that things won’t go as planned gives us the chance to reaffirm our priorities and learn more about the direction we are moving. Although it can be scary, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and your own strength in the process. And it is so worth it! 

Instead of comparing yourself to others, consider how far you’ve come. This is probably one of the hardest things to do. It’s so easy to look at others who have accomplished this or that and feel like we should be doing something similar. But the fact is we’re all different people, with different priorities, and different approaches. Forget what other people are doing. And always remember that whatever you see on the surface is only part of the story. You don’t know how hard they’ve worked or what they’ve sacrificed to reach their goals. Set your own goals, and then celebrate the progress you’ve made.

Accept that she can have a lot but not have it all. Ugh, I wish this weren’t true. And there are still days when I refuse to accept it, but you will be both happier and more successful at whatever it is you choose to do if you can embrace this truth. For me (and many others) there is just not enough time in a day/month/year to do all the things  I want to do, so it’s important for me to revisit the priorities that mean the most to me and then plan accordingly. When I do that, I still  don’t have it all but I definitely have more than enough of the things most important to me. Live intentionally!

Be content with the life she creates. Often we get distracted by what we think our lives “should” be, what things we think we “should” have, what goals we think we “should” have achieved. These may be pressures we’ve put on ourselves because of societal norms, parental or peer influence, or–perhaps more often–our own expectations. But if you’ve done all of the things above, then I’m quite certain you’ll have created a life to be proud of. Forget what “should” be and find joy in what “is.” Be content with your life as it is right now in this moment. Live in the moment and make the memories! 

As you work toward your own success, I’ll be your biggest cheerleader and advocate. I’ll be right here beside you cheering you on, holding your hand, and helping you get back up when you’ve fallen down. I will be here to wipe your tears when you think that you have failed. 

And when you’re not sure whether what you’re doing is making a difference and you question whether you’re even successful at all, I’ll be right there to help you chase those doubts away.

Watching you girls grow and mature has always been a reminder to me that I am successful in the ways most important to me, and I know that you will find your own success too.

Love you always & Forever