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Keep’n it Real – How Do You Measure Success?


garyEvery couple of years I take a mental check and see if I am where I want to be in this crazy world. The questions are always the same. Am I successful? Why am I still at Optima? Basically, how am I spending my time and with who.

I bet some of you ask similar questions. If you donʼt, I challenge you to start today. For me at least, this process leads to what psych docs call self-actualization. Achieving oneʼs full potential through creativity, independence and spontaneous actions all wrapped up to grasp the real world. Most of the people I hang out with would call it “keepʼn it real”.

Am I Successful?
Although the question doesnʼt change, the definition certainly has drastically. What I recently came to realize is that oneʼs definition of success is his identity. Hereʼs my experience, and I wonder if you can relate even if you donʼt care. When I was younger, success was defined by having food and a good time. Doing what you wanted, when you wanted and on your own terms. Not a bad trip for an artist who worked as a fish monger. Good times, no stress and then there was the food…

A little further in life success was defined by stability. Having food and a good time along with satisfaction in knowing my parents were confident I didnʼt need their help… kind of a last ditch attempt at approval is my best guess.

A few years later you realize that you have surrounded yourself with your work, the friends and family you always wanted as well as those carefully maintained life-long relationships. I think thatʼs when people like me and maybe you, start loosing focus.

Once you realize that your personal definition of success turns to ownership of “things” is when we see success actually take a downward spiral. There is no end to what can be achieved in life and the accumulation of stuff only serves to wall-out what makes one truly happy. We are all in business to make money and support our families and charities, but that is only one ingredient to personal success.

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At least for me, once I realized the most successful people are those who surround themselves with greatness, I came to an actualization. Success is defined (for me) by the happiness of my family, friends and co-workers. Nothingʼs perfect and understanding that has been key in creating my definition. So this last time I asked myself if I am successful. I finally was able to answer yes because my definition has finally matured to a level that I can be content with.

An old friend helped me out of a jam years ago at possible detriment to himself. (No doubt due to my well known bouts of rash behavior) I asked him why and he exclaimed “run with the winners”. At the time maybe my ego thought I knew what he was talking about. Well, only recently did I truly know what he meant. Also shared with me was a simple secret that can be applied anywhere: “Wanna Succeed? Surround yourself with greatness!” A much newer friend shared frankly with me this year that “I expect too much from people” and that this is a recipe for a let-down every time. Great advice from two very different perspectives that helped me form my new 2013 definition of success.

Why am I still at Optima?
The second question I get asked more by others than I ask myself. Why am I still at Optima? This question comes with a mixed bag of answers but without deviation the number one reason I stay at Optima is the people I work with, both customers and within the Opti-walls. Optima and the Trade Show Industry has been my extended family for 21 years and looking back, I wouldnʼt change much. Our family is not perfect but in a way, itʼs better that it isnʼt. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Getting out of your safe place once in awhile helps keep life worth living.

When challenged, my fellow Optimites seem to step-up and impress me more than they let me, you, the end customers down. With each new growth spurt here at Optima I see new blood inspiring old blood and people filling gaps and key roles as they mature into their positions in life. These folks are becoming successful by my definition. I often wonder if their actions meet their own definition of success?

My group consists of 9 dedicated, super creative and sometimes a little odd (but good) natured people. They are all experts in some area that benefits our customers directly or indirectly as they individually help meet Optimaʼs company goals and visions. Itʼs my privilege to help them each do their absolute best and bring out their success. The Marketing, Creative and Product Development team at Optima fills this guy full of pride every day. They are all top-notch individuals because they are developing their potential through creativity, independence and spontaneous actions all while maintaining a grasp on the real world. This year I recognized what running with winners and surrounding yourself with greatness truly means.

In conclusion, at least this year, I can make an assertion that in 2013 – I am Successful.
How Do You Measure Your Personal Success?

About the Author
Gary Camarato is the Vice President of Marketing & Creative Development at Optima Graphics and has been in the Trade Show industry since 1992.

  1. September 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    dude, I’m sharing this with my team. don’t tell my husband but I just fell in love with ya. for at least a few moments anyway. great blog Gary….made my day.

    • Gary Camarato
      September 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks Carla! g

  2. September 13, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Thanks for sharing this today. I found myself in a pivotal juncture in life and was attracted to Optima in part because of items shared in this blog. appreciated.

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