The Definition of Success with a Chronic Illness

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Last Updated on September 27, 2021 by melissanreynolds

I think I lost sight of what is important. I lost sight of my definition of what success with a chronic illness means.

I got sucked into the idea of “rising”, of the point being to earn more and more and be “business minded” (read: work lots and have heaps of money).

redefining successful when you have a chronic illness. person's arm and laptop image

But that’s not me. My goal has been to build myself a permanent part-time career. So that I can always chase the intersection of my work life balance. So that I can be well, so that I can be a good mama.

My body and energy levels are unique. Pre-pregnancy I knew this to be 25-30 hours per week of work. Now, I plan to begin the experiment at 20 hours. I share about how this turned out, in Working with a Chronic Illness part one post.

But I was looking for the wrong things.

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If the goal is to have a permanent part-time career, then the actual job is going to be a bit different to what I have been thinking. Unfortunately, the business world hasn’t caught up to the idea of meaningful part-time work. So I need to aim at administration level roles.

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If I’m being honest, that is a sticking point. I like to think of myself as “past” admin, I have done some amazing roles in the non-profit sector, there is such opportunity there, so I did far more than just administrative tasks when I was EA. Other administrative roles just don’t seem to cut it, challenge-wise.  

But what is important is the ability to work part-time. And to be as close as possible to my baby’s care so that I spend as little time away from him as possible. I need to re focus on what’s important to me.

Not get lost in the world’s definition of successful.  I am successful. I am good at my work, am married to the love of my life, have been given the joy of my life (my baby), know and follow my passions, live well with a chronic illness and love, A LOT.

how to redefine success: exploring success when you have a chronic illness

2021 Note: Success with a Chronic Illness

I wrote this post in 2014 when I was going back to work after having my first son. And the concept holds true today. I wish we could redefine the word successful. I wish that people wouldn’t look down upon part-time work.

A viable work-life balance should be celebrated.

I share about this in Working with a Chronic Illness part one post.

Ask yourself

What is your priority?

What can you do? This is important because we can’t always make broad sweeping changes immediately. However, living your work-life balance inline with your pacing envelope will help you in every single area of your life!

Redefining success when you have a chronic illness

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