The Definition of Success

Jul 9, 2014

Today’s the day. LAUNCH DAY.

The new, revamped This Is Your Life podcast with Michael Hyatt is now LIVE. You can listen to the episode via iTunes or watch the video of the entire recording.

{Or, if you happen to be my parents, you can do both. Simultaneously. With a small group of neighbors, friends and strangers dragged off the street. Hi, Mom & Dad.}

Now. Can I tell you something, just between you and me?

I’m nervous. As in I-didn’t-sleep-a-wink-last-night nervous.

Silly, I know. A grown adult shouldn’t be nervous about something like this. After all, it’s not life and death. The stakes are relatively small. Besides, I know fear is often little more than a runaway imagination fueled by a dash of insanity. But (I can’t help it) the in-recovery pleaser in me is nervous just the same. I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to disappoint.

That’s why yesterday I pulled out an old copy of Brene Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability. She reminded me that success isn’t a product of doing everything with perfection or getting truckloads of affirmation. Success is being brave enough to show up. To risk. To try. To put yourself out there and be seen. And to show your truest self to the world without holding back.

So yes, it feels risky. Yes, I feel vulnerable. But it also feels oh-so-good. Because I’ve poured myself into something I believe in, something I enjoy. And I showed up. That is success enough.

Some have asked me why I took on this project. A valid question, especially after all the chaos and unknowns of the past few months. Does it make sense to take on a project of this magnitude after all that’s happened? Yes. And here’s why.

Opportunity requires stewardship. Over the past couple years, I’ve been blessed with a growing influx of opportunity. Speaking engagements. Radio interviews. Book contracts. Recording projects. I’m honored, and not a little confounded by it. Although I can’t explain the”why” of it all, I receive it with gratitude. At the same time, it’s forced me to choose. I can’t say “yes” to everything. I can’t do it all. Being a podcast co-host allows me to invest in my dream and steward my abilities with less impact to the rest of my life. I can spend more time at home with my family while still doing what I love. It’s a win-win all around.

A calling must be honored. It is my belief that every one of us is entirely unique. We’re equipped with gifts, talents and experiences that are unmatched by any other human being. That means my role in this generation can only be fulfilled by me. The same is true of you. We’re given the timeline of a single life, with an unknown expanse of days. To honor the life we’re given means to step through open doors, to attempt to multiply God’s investment in us. It requires wisdom and discernment, yes. But to ignore our callings is to ignore the One who called us.

A well-lived life looks forward, not back. When February brought a diagnosis and March a life-altering surgery, the temptation was to hole up and hide from life. That’s the honest truth of it. There were too many what-ifs, too many unknowns. To be frank, there still are. I have zero guarantees. But here’s a hard truth: neither do you. Today I’m healthy. Strong. I feel better than I have in years. So either I can sit and wait and watch. Or I can step forward in FAITH, trusting God to handle whatever is next. I choose the latter. As for tomorrow? It’s not here yet. So I’m not going there.

Now, let’s talk about you. Yes, this post is about today’s podcast launch. But I don’t want you to miss the bigger message:

Today is YOUR launch day, too.

You may or may not have product or podcast or tangible something sitting in your hands. Yet. But you do have something to offer, something the world can’t afford to go another day without.

YOU. Your life. Your words. Your presence.

So do me favor today, will you? SHOW UP. Get out there. Allow yourself to be seen. Take a risk and bring your best self to your world. All you have is today, so use it well.

Steward the opportunities. Honor your calling. Live forward not back.

And that, right there, is success enough.

{P.S. Thanks for celebrating with me, dear ones. This is so much more than a launch day for me. It’s a second chance at life. Love you to the moon.)

Where do you need to “show up” today? 


  1. Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg

    Michele…boy did I need this today! A month ago I agreed to put on a full day and a half workshop for other therapists and mental health workers in my town. Friday is the big day. I am soooo nervous! I want everything to go well. I want to know that my workshop Friday will actually last the WHOLE day and I don’t fumble around with notes or fall over when I go to turn around (my balance is terrible). I have been keeping up the self-talk (you know the drill) but at times I wish I could “call in sick!” Thanks for your words today. Now I’m going over to listen to the podcast! I know it will be amazing. :o)

    • Michele Cushatt

      Oh, Linda. How I empathize! But let me add my voice to your positive self-talk. You TOTALLY have what it takes, no doubt about it. You will go in there Friday and KILL IT, because you have the heart, passion, and sincere love for your audience. Besides that, God has made you for this! I believe it!

  2. Amy Thedinga

    What a perfect post! I’m launching this week too Michele. And having all the same feelings you mentioned. You see, this time, I didn’t hold back. I tackled some tough issues that might turn people off or even make some mad. I showed my true self and all my passion and insecurity came tumbling out. It’s the scariest, most freeing feeling in the world. I’m so proud of you. I can’t wait to see what God does with your wild abandon to His plan for you. We’re all in this together and watching you press past your fear and pain into the adventure of the great unknown, despite all the excuses you could make for playing it safe, is a win for us all. Love you.

    • Michele Cushatt

      I love that we’re launching TOGETHER. With you, Amy. Cheering for you.

  3. Heather Thorpe

    So I watched the podcast first thing this morning and I am just now reading your blog. Thank you for calling us all out to our new beginnings. I am teaching at a new school after 11 years, starting new, starting fresh…… and this speaks to me so much…. every day is a gift…. and so are you! Thanks friend!

    • Michele Cushatt

      And I woke up to a perfectly-timed message from you. Thank you, friend.

  4. Rick Theule

    Michele – I’m excited to listen to you and Michael when I have time this evening! I’m sure the content will be top notch, and you both will continue to inspire me.
    Where do I need to “show up” today? Glad you asked. I need to show up by working on my book. Thanks for the push.

  5. Tor Constantino

    Great post Michele and your inaugural video/podcast with Michael was outstanding! Thanks for continuing to fearlessly share your heart and story!

  6. Cherie from Queen of Free

    Book endorsements. I’m trying not to have a rookie author heart attack about asking people I don’t know to say something nice about my book. Control freak me does not do well with unknowns and I need to get several things wrapped up soon with very little depending on me really (although what really does depend on us?). Thanks for the reminder that doing nothing isn’t the answer. Heading off to show up.

    • Michele Cushatt

      “The ask” is tough, isn’t it? I always struggle with this. And put it off as long as possible. You can do this, Cherie! Your message is worth it.

  7. Paul Sohn

    Well done Michele! Looking forward to learning more from you!

  8. Bev

    Thanks! 🙂

  9. Kathy Kuhl

    Congratulations! Though I met you at SCORRE (you gave me a Fully Alive book & DVD) and was very impressed with your outstanding talk, I wasn’t excited about version 2.0 of the podcast until I heard it. Then I realized what depth and difference you are adding to This Is Your Life. I’m eager to hear more. You two made a great, strong start!

  10. Laura Naiser

    I loved the podcast. I was worried when Michael announced he was changing things up. But once he told us who was going to co-host I was excited. You added so much to the Get Published recordings so I knew the podcast would be great. Bravo on leaning into the challenge and the fear and answering your calling. I for one am blessed by your bravery! Looking forward to next week!

  11. Justin

    This was for me Today. Every day for the last two weeks I have had to find the courage to “show up”. It is hard when you are used to hiding. Thanks for the encouragement!

  12. Fatima Wesson

    I’ve just discovered you through Michael Hyatt and I’m so glad I did. I love your writing and your encouraging words. God bless you, and carry on being a light that shines for Him.

  13. Leone Rohr

    Hi Michele,
    I listened to you and Michael Hyatt today and loved it. I have been a Hyatt podcast fan for a while and opted to do the video of the two of you today instead of podcast. I came to your blog when you told a little about yourself on the show and I have signed up to get your emails and learn more from you.

    I totally believe in “showing up,” especially when sometimes that is just what it takes to get us rolling and doing what we have the potential to do. I am a wife, mother of 11 children, entrepreneur and business owner and working on expanding into other areas of life and developing and honing other skills. I am on a mission to learn, grow, share and live up to my potential in this precious life that God has given me.

    I look forward to reading your posts and the guidance and inspiration.

    Blessings to you and your family.



  1. Sometimes, courage is just showing up & giving it your all - Money Saving Mom® - […] But then I remembered: sometimes, courage is just showing up. […]
  2. Measure Your Own Success » Dan Nielsen - […] recently read a blog post by Michele Cushatt titled “The Definition of Success.” In the article Michele said […]

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