10 Women Explain What "Success" Means To Them, And Their Answers Are So Inspiring

As kids, we’re often told that we can be whatever we want to be when we grow up — meaning that from a very young age, the whole concept of success is subjective. Whether the child version of yourself aspired to be an astronaut or a novelist — heck, as a kid, I wanted to be a cowgirl — the ingredients for leading a successful, happy, and fulfilling life were completely autonomous.

As adults, it’s easy to forget this simple concept. Though we're ultimately still in the driver’s seat of our own lives, it’s become far too easy to compare ourselves with others. Very prevalent and in-your-face social media updates and the easy-to-monitor career trajectories of others can cause us to feel behind or unsettled if our own lives are in a different place.

It’s time to break free of the comparison trap and start celebrating where you are right now. To remind women that there's no one definition of success, Bustle teamed up with HP to ask 10 women to define success on their own terms. Read their answers below, and get ready celebrate your accomplishments, big and small!

Success Is… Affording A Plane Ticket Home

“My definition of success has changed so much recently! When I was 22, it was to move to New York City and 'make it' as an editor at a glossy lifestyle magazine. Now that I'm five years out of college, my definition of success means being financially responsible enough to afford to visit my family more often. Now that there's a new generation of adorable humans in the family, it's pretty hard to argue that success could be anything other than being a strong presence in their lives.” —Allison, 27

Success Is… Defining My Own Rules

When I was fresh out of college, I thought success was having a boyfriend and a steady job and being able to afford rent in New York City. Now that I’ve moved out of the city, am single, and work as a freelance writer, I define success as being able to create my own rules when it comes to my personal and professional life, and being able to afford quality products that allow me to further my career. Being able to afford 'adult' purchases, like the HP Spectre x360 — a sleek, high performance laptop featuring privacy screenings and fingerprint reading for quick unlocks — makes me feel responsible, professional, and oh-so-successful.” —Erin, 28

Success Is… Loving My Career

“Success is finding a job that you truly enjoy going to everyday. When I was 22, a friend who was 30 at the time told me that they found a job that they truly loved and got excited to go into the office for. He told me everyone could have that! At the time I was an overworked, underpaid accountant and did not believe him at all. Five years later I changed careers, and now, I love my job. Success!” —Laura, 28

Success Is… Feeling Content

“Success for me is contingent on a few things. Professionally [as a physical therapist], it’s having patients discharged because they’re feeling better. Personally, success is having happy kids, a healthy family, and relaxing down time with my husband. Overall, success equals less stress. If I feel chill, I call it a win.” —Abby, 38

Success Is… Work-Life Balance

“Success is having a job that’s challenging enough to keep me interested, but not so challenging and filled with responsibilities that I need to think about it or be available outside work hours — so I can be 100 percent present with people I love!” —Meghan, 31

Success Is… Being Happy Everyday

“Personally, I think success is finding happiness right now. It's so easy to make happiness conditional — if I get this promotion, if I move here, if I find a partner, etc. And all those things can be great high points! But to truly be happy, I think you have to learn to find contentedness regardless of everything [else].” —Lexi, 29

Success Is… Affording Small Luxuries

“To me, success is not having to look at the price when I buy wine.” —Lindsay, 32

Success Is… Surrounding Yourself With People You Love

“Of course, [success] is different for everyone but I think success should have nothing to do with money or work. It should be about your quality of life and who you surround yourself with. If you can wake up every day knowing you are loved and look forward to what the day brings, I would call that a success.” —Aly, 29

Success Is... Different For Everyone

"For me, defining 'success' has largely meant making peace with the idea that success looks different for everyone. Once I stopped measuring myself against society's definitions of traditional success, I felt really steady and secure in the choices I've made for my life." —Lauryn, 29

Success Is… Staying Grounded

“I measure success by knowing that I have given it my all, did my best, and helped to empower others in the process. It's having enough money and happiness to fulfill my own needs and give some away without feeling empty. And it's certainly staying connected to myself through it all: Chasing after your dreams is an awesomely hard and exhilarating thing, just don't lose perspective in the process!” —Katherine, 27

This post is sponsored by HP.