How to be Successful by FLIRTing More

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 that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Because you’re reading this, because I’ve managed to reach you across oceans and mountains, I feel like a successful blogger. If  any of my words inspire or touch you, even for a moment, I’ve succeeded as a writer.

How do you define success, not just in your business, career or blogging ventures, but in your life? How will you ever know if you’re  ‘successful’ if you never define what success means to you, as a unique individual?

I went to bed happy last night, feeling fulfilled, tired and satisfied  – that feeling you get when you tick all the boxes on a To Do list, only I had no To Do list. I’d re-examined what I need in order to feel successful in every part of my life; in doing so, I’d managed to fill my day doing the things I’d identified as being necessary for my happiness.

My ‘online work’ is only one spoke on my wheel of life. My aim for that aspect of my life yesterday was ‘Stay logged off.’  That was it. A decision to honour my family and celebrate the sunshine.

The other spokes on my wheel (or petals on a daisy, boxes in a grid – however you visualise all the areas of your life) are my relationships with

  • my husband,
  • my kids,
  • my birth and extended family
  • and my friends.

I also have spokes for

  • my health,
  • my finances,
  • my environment,
  • my contribution to society,
  • my spirituality and
  • what I call FLIRTFun, Leisure, Interests, Recreation and Travel

As you can see, the spoke called career/work is only one part of my life.

How many spokes/life areas would you have in your wheel of life?

From success you get lots of things, but not that great inside thing that love brings you. ~ Sam Goldwyn

The trick to feeling happy is to make sure you know what it would take for you to feel ‘successful’ in every, single one of those areas today.

If you define blogging success by numbers – Feedburner subscriber stats, Google Analytic statistics for visits, length of time a reader stays on a page, number of pages per visit, the amount of affiliation money you earn etc – then you can set yourself daily, weekly, monthly ‘number’ targets. But what about the things that can’t be measured so easily in numbers? The heartfelt comments, the tales of triumph or words of support that bring tears to your eyes? That post that left you feeling Wow! That was the real me!

What about about quality time with your loved ones? How many hours do you aim to spend with them? What do you plan  to do with them today, this week? What’s the minimum time spent doing non-work things that would allow you to go to bed happy, knowing you’d ‘succeeded’ as a spouse, a parent, a son or daughter, a loving friend?

To awaken each morning with a smile brightening my face; to greet the day with reverence for the oportunities it contains; to approach my work with a clean mind; to hold ever before me, even in the the doing of little things, the ultimate purpose toward which I am working; to meet men and women with laughter on my lips and love in my heart; to be gentle, kind and courteous through all the hours; to approach the night with weariness that ever woos sleep and the joy that comes from work well done – this is how I desire to waste wisely my days. ~ Thomas Dekker (c. 1570 -c. 1641)

One way you could go to bed every single night feeling satisfied and successful, fulfilled and proud of yourself is to dig deep and ask yourself how you define success for every single spoke in your wheel of life. Then take one wee step, every day to get you closer.

What would you like to achieve today, this week, this year in every one of those areas?

Yesterday, I decided that to feel like I hadn’t let my kids down, I would have to be able to go a whole day without saying “Could you just wait a wee minute, sweetheart; I’m trying to post something and this is taking ages to load and if I leave it now, I may lose it.”

To be a good wife, I wanted to cook my husband a Sunday evening meal he’d really love, something with wine, garlic and cream served with a glass of  sparkling rosé; I wanted to listen much, much better than I have been.

To improve my environment, my aim was to clear one of my clutter hotspots and empty the ironing basket.

To feel healthier, I drank less coffee and more water.

And so on, with every area of my life.

I often combine aims so that each daily goal has a beneficial effect on more than one area of my life. For example, a bit of gardening as a family brings us closer together, keeps me fit, saves us money, makes our environment more beautiful, feeds our spirit and enables me to pass on flowers, seeds and cuttings to others.

Blogging has been good for my finances, friendships and FLIRTing, but in reality, it’s been a bit of a cuckoo, knocking all the other chicks out of the nest.


How do you define success – down to the details – in every area of your life? How do you plan to love your loved ones better today? What will you contribute to make the world a better place?

And remember to log off and do some FLIRTing – have some Fun, Recreation, Leisure, Interests and Travel, (even if travelling’s just a walk through the park to your local market.)


(This post was originally published in June, 2009. The concept’s not new and you’ve heard it a million times before, but it bears constant revisiting. I wish I could get it out to more folk; in these days of social media numbers-based depression and low self esteem, it’s still relevant. Please share it on Twitter or Facebook if you think it’s a message worth putting out there. )


  1. Sometimes you run across a post that tells you you’re doing something right. But sometimes you run across a post that tells you the opposite, and this was one of those posts for me. This is not a negative thing–not at all. No… the problem is I’ve been neglecting things. I haven’t been “flirt”ing. And I’ve been getting mired down in the small stuff of life and in other’s definitions of success.

    Between this post and Caroline’s at “The Zen In You,” I’ve got a lot to think about today. Will let you know how it goes … 🙂

  2. Hi Janice,

    Beautiful post. I come from an environment where success was measured by the degrees that you have and the belief that a six figure salary was the only kind of salary to have. Ever since I was a child, I found all that to be stupid and illogical. However, despite my awareness that those things were not success, I was pressured to go down that route. So off I went to college and law school.

    I never regretted attending law school or college. Actually, both were wonderful. I know that if my family had defined success differently, I would not have tortured myself so much by being someone that I am not. However, things happen for reasons, and I now see why I had to go through what I went through. It truly made me a better person. So with this in mind, success is when you are at peace with who you are and you know the talents that you have and you use those talents to help better the world around you. It has nothing to do with money, looks or anything material. It is all about loving who you are and spreading joy.

    Apologies for the long comment but you had to ask such a profound question! 😉

  3. Oh, CG, I’m so sorry if this made you feel worse. I’ve been ignoring my inner voice recently and when I finally started putting all the theory back into practice again, I felt so clean and clear that I wanted to share it with everyone. Please let me know how you get on.

    Thanks! (May I call you D? I find it very hard to keep calling you Positively Present and don’t really want to abbreviate you to PP 😉 ) I know you’re very productive and hard working , so I hope you take time to have fun and enjoy yourself offline , too.

  4. @Nadia,
    Never worry about the length of comments here. One word, a thousand – it’s all good.

    To feel at peace, respond instead of react and let go of all my attachments to outcomes are some of the intentions I have for what I call the spirituality area of my life, even though we all know that everything overlaps and that spirit underpins everything!

    1. I do think you’re awesome, but now I’m starting to wonder if my poor wee post sucks. 🙁

  5. Your last line is hilarious. Take that in a good way. When my kids were growing up it was my pursut of college and part time job that knocked the chicks out of my nest! Remeber it’s a good. We appreciate when were in the nest if we sometimes fall out!

    I’ve never defined success with only income. However once you succeed in other areas it seems to fall into place.

    I think success for me begins with my faith, family, friends, (relationships).
    As we were raising the girls so much fell into place. My husband worked as an accountant and we bartered doctors and dentists for their services. What a savings seeing we were both self-employed and had to purchase insurance.

    Today one daughter works for the airline so we fly free any where any time we want. Two others work for New Balance so I have shoes coming out of my ears.

    Sometimes we get too focused on money and forget there are other ways to have abundance.

    Back to my definition, I got side tracked! As long as I am contributing to the happiness of others and have my needs met I’m successful.

    It seems everyone is living on less these days and I see it as an opportunity to make things special again!

    Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..Dr. Christine Northrup Freebie/Magic Monday

  6. @ Hayden,
    Phew! I often write these long rambly things, hoping I can pass on something that’s helped me, but the danger is ending up sounding like I’m preaching, talking about myself too much or taking myself too seriously like somebody’s granny! Your blog really is special. Marc sent me there one day to help me get my sense of perspective back, and my visit there today did the same.

    I love your childhood stories and those about when the kids were small. You sound so happy in your own skin at the moment, it’s a joy to be around you, like everything’s fallen into place. I love this:

    We appreciate when were in the nest if we sometimes fall out!

    My kids are appreciating having the old me back; I cook better when I don’t blog so much and the kitchen’s also cleaner!

  7. @Mo,
    I’m glad you like this post and the blog as a whole. Thanks for your comment in the Guest Book too! Always nice to see a new face.

  8. Hayden: You had me laughing! When I read the title I thought it was going to be about the other kind of flirting too at first. I could just see you and Janice saying, “No, YOU’RE awesome!” to each other. Cute comment!

    Janice: Like Chania Girl, this was a post I really needed. Sometimes we get comfy with our lives and think everything’s going ok. Then you read something that asks you to dig a little deeper, to reflect a little more, to strive a little harder. And you realize that you’ve been coasting instead of trying. That’s what this post did for me. It’s why I loved this:

    “The trick to feeling happy is to make sure you know what it would take for you to feel ’successful’ in every, single one of those areas today.”

    As you were saying, even if one of the spokes in your wheel is broken, that affects your happiness in all the other areas. It’s up to us to make sure all the spokes are “healthy” and functioning so that a breakdown in one area doesn’t affect everything else.

    I about cried when I read this:

    “Could you just wait a wee minute, sweetheart; I’m trying to post something and this is taking ages to load and if I leave it now, I may lose it.”

    Do you know often I have said that very phrase? (Well except for “wee” because I don’t have a Scottish accent) What an eye-opener!

    I loved the FLIRT acronym. When I get busy, that is the first thing to go. I need to remember to take time for those things too.

    This is another well-timed, inspirational post that I have come to expect when I come here. Beautiful, just beautiful, and exactly what I needed.

    Randi´s last blog post..Internet Explorer Problems UPDATE (new items in red)

  9. I spent today paring down and getting rid of things I no longer need so I can soon move into a lovely smaller home. It felt really good. Perhaps for me it was a bit of a F-L-I-R-T.

    Robyn McMaster´s last blog post..Making Changes

  10. @Robyn,
    Great to hear from you! I am so jealous. Right now I’m longing for that clean and clear feeling. That’s why I specialise in homelife coaching. There’s such power at home, so much emotion and creativity, so many dreams and symbols, desires and memories, details and values. It’s territory I’m very happy in. Once you get over the initial hurdles of parting with things you once thought you’d never part with, it becomes quite exhilarating. I have real problems parting with books, though. Do you?

    Thank you! Things must have been harder for you this week with the technical problems Blogger has been causing. I don’t care what anyone says, online work is potentially addictive, and as a blogging community, we need to support each other in making sure that quality, authenticity, genuine contribution and support all become more highly valued and appreciated so that some aspects of blogging feel less like a treadmill.

    That’s why I think guest posting is a good way to go. It gives people a breathing space and introduces new perspectives.

  11. Janice, you have succeeded! Your blog is at the top of my favorites!
    The wheel of life exercise is something I use with all of my holistic students (and myself!) It is a wonderful exercise. I often look at it more as a harmony than a balance (you don’t want to think about work when you are on vacation for example) but it is important to be aware of all the areas so none of them get neglected completely- throwing your entire life off balance (and having to spend time playing catch-up) . It is amazing what an eye opener a simple exercise can be, often we don’t even realize we are neglecting a very important area in our lives! I do believe that when we go within and practice self awareness daily, we are a lot more ‘in tune’ and the harmony of our life’s song is much more beautiful.
    I consider myself successful if I am a catalyst to others success and fulfillment. I love to inspire others! If I feel I have made a positive difference in someone’s life I have ‘succeeded’.
    Also, I am always on a quest for self-mastery, this has been a life-long mission for me and to be honest I am not sure where this fire in my spirit comes from. It seems I was born with this wild, fiery, drive that I have always persevered toward new goals, higher heights, always learning and growing.

  12. @Angie,
    Thanks for such a passionate response – I can hear that fire you mention! You’re so right about balance being the key. One of my friends lived her whole life for and through her spouse. When he walked out suddenly to live with someone else, she was devastated because every section of her life had revolved around him.

  13. I agree you about BALANCE. Blogging can be all consuming affair, if you let it. It can also drift into a popularity contest, if you let it. But the essence of it to me is sharing. I share thoughts, stories and ideas, but almost more important is what I get from the people I visit. I can’t tell how many times I landed on someone’s post and it just what I needed that day. I love this about blogging.

    But it has it’s place as you rightly say. We still have lives to live away from the computer. Your Flirting concept captures that balance very well. I love the use of FLIRT:~)
    Sara recently posted…Write on Edge: The UndertowMy Profile

    1. I can’t tell how many times I landed on someone’s post and it was just what I needed that day. I love this about blogging.

      That’s one of my favourite things, too – I call it synchronicity surfing!

      Sharing’s the essence of it for me, too; it’s the very soul of my blog, like it is with yours. What I hoped to achieve, managed to, briefly, with my blog in its blossoming years before I burned out, was to make it feel like a cosy wee intimate café where the conversation changed every day depending on who was in. At one point, two or three of the regulars used to have conversations in the boxes below without me even being there!

      My blog’s never had an impressive quantity of visits or commenters, but oh the quality! Priceless. I’ve always been truly blessed by the support, inspiration, companionship and wisdom folk have shared here and that says everything about synchronicity bringing the right folk here at the right time. Magic happens. Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment, Sara; I really appreciate it.

  14. Hi Janice – what a great resonating post 5 years later … so well said and I love the cuckoo in the nest aspect as well as FLIRT … and these next couple of weeks see me doing housekeeping … clearing the old and re-starting and moving into the best parts of the 21st C I hope (well for me at this stage … ) … revamping the blog, converting some posts into ebooks and generally learning. I don’t look at numbers, never have … it’s been nice to have followers, but there are many who don’t hit the button … and many now I’m in email touch with … supported by them, giving back …

    I’m also out walking more, studying in a relaxed way, with the University of the 3rd Age … there’s a very good group here (1 of 3!) … but it’s great – ready made knowledge available … which I’m tapping into …

    Friends and family too … essentials in life … sadly some illness to contend with – but being around as a support to them and volunteering …

    I definitely could do more – the housekeeping aspects will clear more time and give me some space …

    Hope your weekend isn’t too blustery … we have some sunshine in between the racing clouds … cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted…Aspects of British Coasts: ZZZ final A-Z notes … Art and Design, Agatha Christie, Western Isles of Scotland, Wrasse, Waves and Xfacts …My Profile

    1. I can tell from your blog that you’d need 48hr days to cram in all your interests! That’s why your readers love you – so much love of life spilling over in your desire to share it with the world.

      Seems you and I are in a similar blog and appliance phase; my blog clearing out was supposed to be speedy, silent and to give me clarity, but it’s been an emotional rollercoaster. My updated laptop was meant to make the technical aspects of blogging easier….did you hear that scoff and cough!!! I spend half my time re-learning stuff I used to know, and the other half fighting Skynet (you know, from the film Terminator.) Everywhere I go online, the assumption is I want to have my entire online, phone and TV world connected! It drives me mad!

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