It’s All Up From Here!

With Shona Smith & Pia Jane Bijkerk

Episode 6: Redefining Success

How do you define success in your family? In this episode, Shona and Pia open up the conversation on what it means to be successful. And at the end of the episode Shona asks her 20 year old son Adam, what he feels the message of success was when he was growing up.

Please find some of the key points from the episode below, along with a list of helpful resources at the end.

Starting with the quote read by Pia, from author William Martin…

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

Pia: “This quote has been a huge inspiration for my parenting, my books and projects over the past few years”

Shona: “Success is being a human being in touch with their humanity”.

Pia: “Getting in touch with your feelings, emotions, surroundings, the environment and appreciating all that you have…you can ask, ‘Did you enjoy that? What did you like about it?’”

Pia talks about the challenges that come from growing up in a highly competitive environment and how she reframed her understanding of success in alignment with her true nature. She talks about the importance of encouraging curiosity, and to teach through example of the joy of learning…

“I strive for that - the joy of discovery and exploration.

Instead of wanting to be better at what I do,

I strive to appreciate what I am.”

Shona: “My hope of success for my kids was for them to know themselves: that they have a level of awareness and the ability to be self-reflective about what they like, who they are, how they behave, and how they respond to people…to have a level of self-knowing. And most of all to be authentic to her they are.”

Pia: “The struggling conflict in the way I was brought up to how I am now…in my family, success was dominated by money. So in that way, I’m a huge failure!” She talks about the importance of hearing her partner Romain’s words early in their relationship: Money is a tool, not a destination.

Shona: What would you pass on to Laly in your valuing of money?

Pia: “That money is not your sole value system, and to put it in a balanced place in your life.” One way to do this is the way pocket money is understood. “Laly has three jars - save, spend and donate which she calls ‘donuts’… Romain & I had to sit down beforehand and talk about what the money lessons are…it’s a big deal as it forms your child’s perception of money in their life. For us it’s not about chores as that needs to be done without payment as a contribution to living in a house with other people, so we focus on valuing and nourishing qualities like using your intuition or taking initiative…thinking about, what do we value?” Pia references The Soul of Money book by Lynne Twist (link below).

Shona: How did you decide what is success for your kid?

Pia: “It comes back to the core values I have - respect for earth, respect for self, respect for humanity. Everything branches out from there”

Shona: “When people are authentic and operating out of their strengths, they can make such a positive impact in the world”

Pia: “Getting to know your feelings, to understand who you are, and not getting caught in labels. I feel like there are a lot of lost souls around, and it reminds me of the prose I wrote in My Heart Wanders:

Like a paper boat on a windy sea,
Battered and bruised from to-ing and fro-ing.
Drenched in drops of tears that fall like rain…
I’ve lost sight of the shore.

All this, yes.

But now that I am surrounded by all that is unfamiliar,
I’m more aware, more awake, than ever before.
And with wide, clear eyes I soon find myself
In a world of wonder I never dared dream about.
It’s in this world that wandering hearts come lost,
To be found.

Pia: “It’s a balance of self-esteem. You can have all the money in the world but have incredibly low self-esteem. I look at the whole of someone rather than isolating and valuing only one aspect of them. You can’t just focus on one aspect of someone and say it is the definition of success.”

Shona: “Yes, like focussing on being famous. The ego gets caught.”

Pia: “I would say being balanced is another marker of success.”