Joy Challenge // Day 3 // Defining Success

For those of you who missed it, I'm participating in the Stratejoy Joy Challenge.

Day 1's post is here.

Day 2 ... eh, I didn't get to this yesterday. Life got in the way. And I woke up this morning all stressed about it, wondering if I should write TWO posts today to make up for it. But then I started getting stressed, because I didn't know if I had time for two blog posts. And then I was like, "Lauren, *SLAP.* It's okay that this didn't happen the way you didn't plan it. Let. It. Go."

(that, my friends, is a baby step towards a perfectionist's being okay going from Day 1 to Day 3, even though just typing that makes me a little panicky ...)

*deep breath*

Okay. Here we are. Day 3. The theme?

Defining Success.

Today's Journal Prompt:

If you got to the end of your life and someone asked you to recount the 5 most meaningful moments you experienced -- what would they be?

First, it should be noted that I'm a huge fan of these types of questions. I know at first they might seem morbid--who the heck wants to think about dying, right?

But way back when I was stuck in my dead-end (or at least it felt that way) day job, it was this "if you were looking back at your life" type of hypothetical prompts that got my ass into gear and convinced me to take a few risks with my life. Quitting my job. A cross-country road trip with no map, and no plan. Moving to a city I'd never even visited (NYC). Writing a freaking book.

Looking at your life as a whole is really the ultimate priority check. Thinking about my life on a BIG scale really reminds me not to sweat the small stuff today.

My Five Meaningful Moments

(1) Driving through the Lincoln Tunnel and arriving in New York City for the first time (ever!), knowing that I was in my new home--and at the start of a new life. Move over, Carrie Bradshaw!

(2) Getting into the limo next to my new husband after our wedding reception. More than the first dance, or cutting the cake, or even exchanging vows, that was my perfect moment. Sipping a glass of champagne, wedding stress behind me, and a wonderful marriage ahead of me.

(3) Receiving an email from the woman who would eventually become my agent, asking if my manuscript was still available, because she liked my voice. 

(4) Sitting on a deck in Maine, watching the sunset with a glass of wine, and having the strangest sense that quiet, lovely moments like that were exactly what my life was about.

(5) Getting my first paycheck from writing--it was the first time I realized that following my passion could also pay the bills. I totally cried. And then had some champagne and celebrated that I was brave and fabulous for following my dream.

Your turn!!! What are the five most meaningful moments in your life thus far? I guarantee thinking about it will center your day and get you back on track, even if it's just jotting them on a paper napkin.

PS: 2 of my 5 moments involve champagne, and 1 involves a glass of wine. Hell. Yes.

Now for today's Exploration Prompt from Molly:

I want you to take one action today that stretches your comfort zone, but still honors who you are at your core. It can be big (book those tickets to Costa Rica, get your nose pierced, forgive someone, write the first chapter of your novel, take the first step towards un-schooling your children, lace up your sneakers and run a mile) or it can be small (eat your lunch outside instead of sitting at your desk, ask that cute stranger on the bus out for coffee, wear your hair up in an unfamiliar topknot, squeeze into the shower with your partner, sleep outside on your deck, listen to a new podcast.) 

The second I read this, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It's going to seem so small to some of you, but it's a little, nagging thing that's been on my mind for awhile, and I was like, "you know what? Just do it ..."

I busted out my hot pink lipstick.

I bought it awhile ago on a whim, but haven't had the guts to wear it. I've put it on a few times, and then immediately dabbed it off. See, I LOVE bright lips on other people, but for some reason I'm paralyzed at the thought of trying it myself. I cling to my neutral faves (Bobbi Brown Pale Pink lipstick & Nars Cruising) like they're life preservers.

But today I went with this:

(and if you're thinking, um, its not even that bright!, know that to me, it feels NEON).

Want to get in on the action? Head over to Stratejoy's site and check out today's prompts! Molly also has a great essay over there to get you thinking about things. And if you decide to post the "outside of your comfort zone" pic on Instagram/Twitter, before to hashtag it up with #thejoyequation !

Lauren Layne

New York, NY, USA

USA Today Bestselling Author & Lifestyle Blogger.