Michelle Singletary
Washington Post columnist

Michelle Singletary

Her Post column, "The Color of Money," is syndicated in more than 100 newspapers; her new book, "The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom" will be available in January.


Overcoming the underlying lie

Q: How do you define success?

People will say that success doesn't mean how much money they have -- but it's a lie.

It's what you're supposed to say, otherwise you look like a louse.

But in this country far too many people think it's money that makes you worthwhile. If that weren't true, why is it that when you meet someone, one of the first questions asked is, "What do you do for a living?"

The person isn't initially interested in your work. He or she wants to define you by your job, which often is connected to how much you make. If you say you're a doctor, an eyebrow is raised and you get either a literal or figurative pat on the back.

Oh, but say you're a teacher and you get: "Isn't that nice." Really what the questioner may be thinking is: "Poor thing, she's not making much money."

Although I'm called the "money lady" because of the personal finance column I write for The Washington Post, I've never equated success with how much money I have.

When you've lived with as much drama as I've had, you see peace as success. Success is finding a good husband and father for your children -- a man who, when he walks into the house, brings with him so much love, understanding and fun that you still tingle all over after almost 18 years of marriage.
Success is having children who don't know the pains you may have experienced growing up. It's watching them play and fight -- but at the end of the day you know they feel loved, wanted, secure. It's going to one of their many school functions and watching them search for you in the crowd and when they find your face, their face lights up.

Success is having a church home that teaches you to love and serve by giving back to your community.
It's having friends you really can count on. It's having a family that drives you nuts but still is there to cheer you on when you succeed by the world's measure.

I've defined my success by the amount of peace I have in my life because peace is priceless.

By Michelle Singletary  |  November 3, 2009; 11:52 AM ET  | Category:  Defining success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I couldn't agree more. In my case switch husband for wife....you've got the big picture figured out. It took me about 20 years to get where you are. Congrats!

Posted by: TED12 | November 6, 2009 12:44 PM
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