MeJane's blog by Nadine Nicholson


What do success and freedom mean to you?

Nadine Nicholson - Tuesday, September 17, 2013
What do success and freedom mean to you?

20 women in business talk success and freedom

What do success and freedom mean to you?

What’s your definition of success and freedom … what’s your paradigm?

Recently 20 women in business raised their hands to answer this question and share their thoughts with you on these important subjects for more entrepreneurs.

This article is the first part of a three-part blog series called Real Talk from Real Women, where I ask women in business to answer these questions: 
  • Article 1 of 3: What does success and freedom mean to you?
  • Article 2 of 3: What are your 2-3 biggest lessons from 2013 and why?
  • Article 3 of 3: What does it look like when you’re being both the BEST and WORST boss you’ve ever had?

This week’s article is all about success and freedom, and I couldn’t ask others to define these words without sharing my thoughts too. So, here goes:

My own definition of “success” to me has significantly evolved over time. Back in the corporate world—and especially before having a child—success to me was all about achieving the next achievement.

Now, it’s more about being able to look at myself in the mirror and know I am being true to myself, my core values and what’s important to me.

“Freedom” to me means being in control of my time and staying intentional with how I want to work, who I work with, when I work and how I share my skills and talents with others.

It’s closely connected to my definition of success. When I can say my actions are 100% (and I mean 100%) aligned with my core values, to me that’s true freedom.

Do you relate?

Drum roll please… here are the views of 20 talented women entrepreneurs, many of whom you may already know:


Anthea Cahill, Real Chai,

Anthea CahillSuccess for me means living life on my own terms. Creating a lifestyle that is built around relationships I love, a business (or businesses) that I love and having time for all the simple things I love in life. Success also means financial ease. Having plenty of $$ to live the lifestyle above. 

Freedom means being able to choose what I work on when. It's about how i spend my time. It's also about being free to follow my passions, to travel wherever I want and to take time out to raise a family!



Fon James, Fon James Enterprises, LLC - The Emergency Business Coach,

Fon JamesWhen I envision success, I see freedom standing right beside it. As an entrepreneur, I am successful when I am doing what I believe I have been called to others. I define my success by the impact I am making through my business, and the ripple effects it has when I help another business owner get unstuck and focused on serving, all while getting their ASSets up! Success means service. And when I am serving, I am free.



Keri Christensen, Spire Coaching and Consulting,

Keri ChristensenSuccess is knowing that I have helped people reach their goals. Freedom is the ability to stay true to my own values and needs while doing that.





Rhonda White, Soul Freedom & Money, 

Rhonda WhiteSuccess and freedom go hand in hand for me. They mean the progressive realization of giving my best to my family, friends, clients and strangers. My best flows from being in right alignment with God and as a result I'm growing in love, joy, peace, patience, faith, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. I'm walking in truth and courage rather than fear and I'm living below my means so I can save money, invest in myself, my business, my children and give freely and generously to those in need. I have no debt, enough to retire on and enough to live on should the unexpected happen. I'm walking in humility rather than judgement so I can see, hear and touch with greater clarity what my next best steps are and what people are in need of that I can give. I'm earning my keep and giving more than I take.

Mallory Hainey, 

Mallory HaineySuccess and freedom are pleasure and ease. I wake up in the morning feeling deep excitement to play with my husband... I seek pleasure in my every day and that is success. Freedom is the ease or flow in all of the processes...the work...the connection....the relationships. Success and freedom are the foundation for joy in life.



Kim Page Gluckie, Truth & Tonic,

Kim Page GluckieSuccess has been fluid for me - the bar for success changes with the requirements of my family and the goals I have set, but no matter what success is always measured by my happiness. If I feel good about what I'm doing, I feel successful.

Freedom for me means flexibility. This means I don't necessarily want to be completely untethered from all responsibility, but rather I am grounded in a routine or schedule that comforts me, but I can also stretch or mould or change with ease.



Christie Halmick, Jewels Branch,

Christie HalmickI feel most successful when I’m supporting women in getting what they want out of life. Success looks like: answering a client’s questions about how to create an e-book, coaching a client through a technology block, helping my mom wash dishes, and taking my daughters to gymnastics.

When I’m free my mind is fully engaged, no worrying or stressing, just being in the flow. I experience freedom when I’m writing, reading, running, designing, working on my business, hanging out with my family, and working in the garden.


Cheryl Bigus, Euphoric Roots,

Cheryl BigusSuccess for me is setting goals and meeting them in every aspect of my life. Failure also is success if I learn from it, use it to reassess, change direction and not let it defeat me. 

Freedom for me is making my way in the world on my terms, on my time and creating success without taking away from my family.



Tanya Hartz, The Fire Within Acupuncture & Wellness, 

Tanya HartzSuccess for me means the ability to maintain healthy balance amidst family, a growing business and interpersonal relationships; to love what you do every day and as that love changes over time, knowing you have the Freedom to change and grow what you are doing to match your true passion.

Every once in a while Freedom also means working in your pyjamas. ;)



Renee Shupe,

Renee ShupeSuccess for me is about choice. I'm in control of my destiny and being able to make the choices that influence how I live my life. That is true success for me, it isn't about the money (sure that's an added benefit) but having the freedom to choose what I do when and how I do it is my success.




Barbara Austin, Sweet Dreamz Design, 

 Barbara AustinI desire success, to have freedom!

Success is feeling like I'm doing something worthwhile (even fantastic!) in the world, like I'm making progress (versus standing still), and like all my hard work is paying off. It's having great clients that I love working with, who pay me what I'm worth, and make my "work" that much more joyful.

Freedom to me is the space to live a rich, purposeful life - giving generously, taking excellent care of myself, being able to see and do the things I want (vacations, concerts, visiting friends out-of-state), and spending time with friends and family.

Loralee Hutton, Her Portable Biz,

Loralee HuttonSuccess and Freedom are very much intertwined for me, although it wasn't always the case. I used to view success as a certain level of financial worth combined with company brand awareness. Now, the success I crave is directly tied to amount of free time I can enjoy from the creation of a well-run business.




Kimberley Wiggins, A Time To Shine,

Kimberley WigginsSuccess for me means enough. What do I mean? Enough for me is being okay with myself from day to day and knowing that "I am enough for me". Knowing that whatever I am doing and whatever state I may be in at the moment is enough. That is what success means for me. Success is simply enoughness. 

Freedom for me is being able to enjoy the lifestyle that I would like. It is being able to having the ability to be me at all times and allow myself that luxury. It is being able to live the authentic life I want to live and to serve in the way that I would like to. Freedom is simply about me being able to realistically and genuinely be me.

Carole Audet, Story Champion,

Carole AudetSuccess for me means that I'm earning a great income, working with fabulous clients, doing work I love doing. Most particularly though, I feel successful because I've created my own source of income, I'm not relying on anyone outside of myself to provide me with a paycheck and I'm self-sufficient. That's not to say I don't have huge support in terms of coaching, networking communities, etc.

I get a sense of freedom when I can do what I want to do when I want to do it. That includes doing things that feed my soul like traveling, and financially supporting causes and the work of non-profits that I feel strongly about.

Christina Workman, Amethyst Answers,

Christina WorkmanFor me, success ultimately means I'm happy in life. It's being surrounded by amazing family and friends (quality over quantity), and doing what I love every day. Success also means finding the right balance of work and play.

Freedom comes in the form of choices: being able to decide when I work, how I work, even IF I work! Freedom is the flexibility to adapt my schedule to fit my needs, as well as the needs of my family.


Hillary Rubin,

Hillary RubinSuccess to me means to wake up loving who you are no matter what is going on in your life. To look in the mirror and love the person looking back. To using your creative mind to make the world the better place in your work. 

Freedom to me means to make empowered choices and live the life you wish to live free of what others may think of you. Freedom is to say yes to your soul and follow that all the way to your own heart even if it's not popular. Simply, to be yourself.


Victoria Melchor,

Victoria MelchorSuccess has many different meanings. It can mean that despite after all of the struggle and the hard work, I have achieved the goals I have set out for myself. Success can be that little voice inside me whom, after taking a deep sigh of relief, says to herself: I can't believe I did it. Then Marie Forleo's vlog on success gave me a new perspective: success is about keeping my promises to myself. Success means that when I wanted to give up along the way because I wasn't seeing the results I thought I should be seeing, I kept going. Success means that when I held a vision for my life I respected it, honored it and loved it.

Eventually, I imagined, success would lead to a new kind of freedom. We tend to think of freedom as the ability to have choice over which car to drive or which religion to practice, but I like to think of freedom as an inner state. Freedom to me is the ability to have choice over where your life and destiny take you. Freedom is about taking responsibility for your thoughts, your actions, and your life as a whole so that you can take an active role in creating the life you love.

Francine Portelance,

Francine PortelanceI learned about success the hard way, and what I mean about this is that I needed to go through two burnouts before finally figuring it out. My personal formula for success today consists of having FOCUS on the things that are truly important to me, having FUN along the way and connecting to FLOW and ease every day.

Freedom is an extension of that: having a daily practice of doing the right things for the right reasons, living without regret and becoming aligned with who you are and what matters most.


Deb Boulanger, Live a Whole Life, 

Deb BoulangerSuccess to me means that I have been able to teach and coach other women to new levels of health and happiness that they never have experienced before and may never have even deemed possible.

Freedom is also a wonderful feeling. It means I am free to live the life I've chosen. I'm able to support myself financially with work I've chosen to do and that also feeds my soul as well as bringing health and happiness to others. 

Freedom means I keep my body free from disease and my mind free from toxic thoughts and emotions.

Freedom means I spend time with people I love and who inspire me to grow and be even better.

Margo DeGange, M.Ed, Women of Splendor,

Margo DeGangeSuccess means you have a clear sense of purpose and you are living a life that rings true to you in your heart and spirit, and this almost always involves meaningfully serving others in some way.

Freedom means I direct my steps, and I decide when and where to take them. Freedom means I am not in bondage to anyone else's mission or agenda. Freedom means I am liberated to travel the path that was brilliantly designed specifically for me!



Call to Action

Now, here’s what I’d like you to do.

After reading these ladies’ thoughts, in the comments below, share your own answer to: What do success and freedom mean to you?