At the end of the day, none of it matters. The success, the money, the world travel. If your heart and soul are hurting inside, none of it matters. The scary thing to me about both Kate Spade’s and Anthony Bourdain’s passings, is that we continue to teach in this culture, that success is the apex. The thing to strive for, to attain above all else. The thing that will bring us that ever elusive “happiness”. But what is learned here, if one can be so attuned, is that all the success, accolades, and money in the world, does not equate to happiness. We hear this. We say this. But it’s time we begin to know this.
What a wake-up call, for me. As an entrepreneur, I’ve spent the past almost decade chasing success and notoriety. The hard-working never-quit mentality or “hustle” is what is routinely taught in the entrepreneur community. The “busy” epidemic. The belief that the busier you are, the more worthy you are. This is a fallacy we’ve convinced ourselves of, and “gurus” on social media perpetuate it. Selling us programs to learn how to make six-figures a month so we can travel in private jets, live lavish lifestyles, and then one day be happy.
I had a business call a couple weeks ago, when I was on the road for my birthday, and on the call when I mentioned I was traveling, the man asked, “for business or pleasure?”. I paused for a hard second, contemplating a lie. My mind filling with guilt that I was on a trip, not for business, but for pleasure. And then I said, ever the honest one, “For pleasure, but I’m not supposed to tell you that. You’re supposed to think I’m always working.”
I’m not working all the time. I used to, but now I’m not. I got tired. Unhappy. Tired of dedicating my entire life to keeping my eye on the “prize” of success.
I used to think, if I could just get on Cupcake Wars, I would be happy.
If I could just win Cupcake Wars, I would be happy.
If I could just get a book deal, I would be happy.
If I could just get on Shark Tank, I would be happy.
If I could just get a second book deal, I would be happy.
If I could just make more money, I would be happy.
If I could just get on QVC, I would be happy.
Always chasing the next accolade. The next achievement. The next article, award, TV spot, book deal, dollar. Always chasing.
And after seeing all this, you probably think I’m happy.
I moved to Los Angeles a year and a half ago with dreams of getting my own TV show. I talked with producers, I met with producers, I got really close a couple times. And then thankfully, I came to my senses. I began to hate L.A. Truly despise it here. The people, the vanity, the vapid attitudes. The constant need to be seen. I came to realize in my time here, after watching all this, that the only one I need to be seen by, is me.
I’ve experienced a smidge of success, of television notoriety. Really, a smidge. But with it I’ve learned how truly difficult it must be to be famous. You think fame will make you happy. You think money will solve your problems. But what you don’t think, is how hard it must be to always be the “brand”. To never be able to be your true self, if it doesn’t line up with the “brand”. To be stared at, gawked at, watched everywhere you go. To have no one understand why you could possibly not be happy, with all that you have earned and achieved. To live up to an image. To feel pressured to always be achieving more and more and more…
How hard that must be. In our age of constant media, constant self-promotion, constant cameras, constant Facebook live Instagram live twitter live, constant comparing to the Jones’s; how hard that must be.
I consider myself lucky to learn this now, before it’s too late.
I have a history of depression. Of attempted suicide. Of anorexia. Of alcohol abuse. Of rehab. I have a history. With this history, I know, I know I need to take care of myself. Need to have a watchful eye on myself. Need to always be checking in with the way I’m feeling. I’m an introvert - I can isolate easily. I’m a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) – I feel everything deeply. I need to be hyper aware of entering waters that seem too murky.
I need to adjust my perceptions of what I need to be happy. We all do. Chasing the dollar, chasing success, and chasing fame truly is a dangerous game.
Back to basics. Simplicity. Good people, fun experiences, love. That’s happy. Regardless of what anyone else is doing, regardless of what anyone thinks; we all need to look deep inside and find our own true happy, whatever that may be. Keep searching for it, digging for it, disposing of things that don’t bring it. Reach out if you can’t find it. Reach out again if no one listens. Reach in. Reach out. Just keep reaching.