Define Success

2014-176One of the things I’ve been mulling over as I look back at these last eleven years is whether or not I’ve been successful in what I set out to do. And I started to realize “success” is rather an abstract concept, and not easy to define.

2014-179I looked it up in the dictionary. This is what I found:

suc·cess noun

1.  the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
2.  the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3.  a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors: The play was an instant success.
4.  a person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.: She was a great success on the talk show.

Hmmm… somehow I don’t find myself in those definitions. I mean, my initial goal was to have an impact in the Spanish-speaking quilting world. I haven’t even made a dent. As far as wealth, position, honors are concerned… excuse me while I ROFLOL.

Since defining whether I’ve been successful or not escapes me, perhaps it is easier to add up the accomplishments that have been meaningful to me.

I have already blogged about what are probably my two favorite quilts: My Dream House and My Brother’s Garden. And not because they earned me prizes and increased my “status.” Rather, because they opened up doors and allowed me to continue my dream of living this life of mine. But, yes, there are other quilts, perhaps not as grand, but that I love just as much and wouldn’t be parted from.

2014-177In 2007, The Electric Quilt Company published a CD-Rom with an add-on library and projects for EQ5 and EQ6, based on the My Dream House Quilt. The following year, they invited me to write the EQ6 companion manual for Applique Drawing (now in its second edition for EQ7). And when they opened their My EQ Boutique website, they invited me to submit a series of collections for this project.

I am proud, and very grateful for this relationship. I never forget that first conversation with Dean Neumann about working with this company. He told me I wouldn’t get rich publishing with them, but I could count on a fair and steady “trickle.” 🙂 He was right. This taught me a valuable lesson: if I was going to make a living in the quilting business, I had to diversify. DesignInEQ_blue-125x125I’m sure other professionals would agree it is very difficult, if not impossible, to survive with only one source of income. What Dean forgot to mention, was how “rich” I would become on the relationship side. This is a company made up of warm-hearted, hard-working, very personal people.  And that is what I value above all.

During these years, I’ve seen quite a few very talented designers come and go. Very few of those who inspired me when I first started quilting continue to have an online presence, and have silently “disappeared” over the years. So I consider longevity is another one of our accomplishments.

Financial wealth is certainly not one of my accomplishments. I doubt it is for any quilting professional. But financial independence has been possible. There are months where we have barely scraped by… but still managed to pay the bills, and even put a child through college (with her own help, as she was able to secure scholarships.) Believe me… not having to close down because of financial need is indeed an accomplishment in this business.

2014-178

My wonderful children

I always use the plural when talking about this quilting adventure. Because I am aware I have a family behind me, supporting me all the way. And especially my Jared. Without his technical support and all-around wisdom, I truly don’t know if I ever would have ventured on this path. It is also such a nice experience to be able to work with one’s child… in absolute harmony! 🙂

And I realize it all boils down to people for me, and to relationships. Being a part of this wonderful quilting world means being part of a quilting community. And that I value. Being a quilter, I am able to enjoy a space of endless creativity. And that I value. Being a designer, I get to work at something I absolutely love. And that I value. I’m certainly not rich, but am able to pay the bills. And that I value! 🙂

So back to the question… what is success for me?

Success is being able to work at what I love, and live the life I chose. More importantly, success is understanding how lucky I am in doing so. 🙂

This entry was posted in Sewing/Quilting, This and that. |Comments closed

4 Comments

  1. Irene
    Posted May 15, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    No comment to this, just a big, warm hug from someone who admires you.

  2. Pearl Black
    Posted May 16, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Angie,

    I am SO PROUD of you. I count it an honor to be your friend, which I feel I am. An even greater honor was to be able to visit you.

    I KNOW MORE specifically, NOW, HOW to pray for you. I am so happy for all that you have accomplished. As has been said: “To be happy and have a good job is to realize WHAT you LOVE to do, and THEN find a way to make money doing it.”

    Much love,

    Pearl

  3. Laurie
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Your post is so timely! Next year I will be 50, and my current career is crumbling around me. As I take stock of what I have accomplished, what I hope to accomplish, and what I can reasonably expect to accomplish, I find your definition of success to be a very good one to guide my way. Thank you!

  4. Mónica Viteri
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Mi amiga inteligente, honesta y, sobre todo, GENEROSA.
    Alguna vez leí un grafitti que decía: “Hay gente tan, pero tan pobre, que lo único que tiene es dinero”.
    Tú, en cambio, querida Angie, eres INMENSAMENTE RICA.
    Te quiero y te admiro.

  • Angie Padilla

    I am a self-learner. I taught myself to sew and to quilt. And I taught myself how to draw. I am learning how to dye my own fabrics and am dabbling with mixed media. I am a quilt designer and teacher, and design and publish my own line of quilt patterns. With this blog I would like to share the bits and pieces of my life.

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