I was going through a bunch of things as I organize for the new year and ran across one of my favorite sayings/poems…They aren’t sure who wrote it – it’s attributed most of the time to Ralph Waldo Emerson but probably a woman by the name of Bessie Stanley wrote it.  It’s kind of like Marianne Williamson’s quote that Nelson Mandela is always credited with, even though both of them say it’s hers!  (It’s this one you might recognize…“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’ – Marianne Williamson)

Neither Emerson nor Stanley are around any more to verify who definitely wrote this beautiful piece but here it is…


To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

…if I were to give this poem a summary quote like I do for my epiphany interviews it would be,

‘To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived,

this is to have succeeded.’

– Ralph Waldo Emerson or Bessie Stanley

What is your definition success? It’s important to know. 

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