Achieving Your Goals In an Onion Way

Success, at its heart, isn’t complicated. But defining success seems to be squishy.

Many people write about success, but emphasize different paths to reach the destination.

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Many claim to be experts on the topic, but disagree on what it actually looks like when you arrive.

Does money equate with success?

Is freedom the measure that counts?

How does traveling the world fit in?

I look back at my 50 years as an educator and see Success.

I didn’t get rich. I didn’t always have the freedom to do as I wished. I traveled little of the world.

I don’t regret my career path. I don’t see it as less than what I should have achieved.

Food might help to illustrate some features of success.

Stop right now and remember the best meal you’ve ever eaten.

What made it great?

I would venture to predict that you know friends who would not consider your meal to be even acceptable. What makes the difference between their taste and yours?

Your taste buds revel as they bathe in the juices and flavors and textures of cuisine that you have experienced by choice and opportunity.

My choices and opportunities have been different from yours. But my description of one of my meals as ‘exquisite cuisine’ is just as true – for me.

It all depends on the personal choice and definition.

So it is with success.

My definition may not match yours, but my joy as I achieve, is real and complete.

The definition, the expectation, determines the quality of achievement.

Achieving the goal that you defined produces great satisfaction in the accomplishment.

The most satifying Successes are layered – like an Onion.

I have loved writing since my early teen years. I wrote poetry and short stories and essays, but dreamed that one day I would write and publish a novel.

I created a definition of success many years ago that invloved being a published author.

I achieved that goal a few months ago. I achieved success – based on reaching that goal.

What next?

You know that it doesn’t take long before the thrill of achieving wears off, and you’re casting about for something else to challenge you. A new goal is needed so a new journey can begin.

For myself, I have embarked on a journey of Onion Goals.

The outer layer of the Onion is a short-term goal. One that I can reach soon enough that the anticipation of the reward keeps me working.


My weekly blog could equate to the first layer of my Onion.

But, one can write and publish a blog within one week. The mind needs more complex goals than that.

Publishing my first novel was a second layer. I already had the rough draft written by hand. Typing, editing, proofing and publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing stretched out for several weeks, but is now completed. That success still feels good.

Other layers of my Onion involve: publishing a Learning Podcast; writing Book 2 and Book 3 of my novel; creating a showcase website for my Nature Photography; a Teacher Skills member website offering CEUs around the theme of Excellence in Education.

As I accomplish one onion layer, I define the next layer to continue the challenge with a new goal.

I did not set this as my goal, but, I am now Manager of the Social Media outreach of my local church. This makes use of my photography skills, refreshes my video editing skills, and forces me to work on my social persona.

I also teach an adult Bible study class each week. These were not intentionally defined in the layers of my Onion Vision, but God has His ways.

Success, you see, is not a final destination. It is a journey. Sometimes it’s a short, straight drive. Sometimes there are valuable, scenic stops throughout the trip at learning stations.

Victory Celebration locations are also important to arrange and manage.

While my definition of success is different from yours, we probably have common portions within the Big Picture. I have three wonderful children and an amazing wife who persists in loving me. Those alone certainly qualify as Achieved Success.

In a variation on the Haiku style of poetry ( 5 – 12 – 7 ) a poem:

Life is like an onion:

It holds the nuances of savory goodness;

Sometimes it makes you cry.

Reach out to me through the Comments or the email options. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for reading.