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... stories, adventures and all things related to life in Singapore and Southeast Asia by AWA members

Redefining Success: Chasing Personal Fulfilment

Singapore Living, by Stephanie Kolentisis
Image by Rosy from Pixabay

Embracing Change

Living in Singapore as a “trailing spouse” has forced me to redefine what success looks like. When my husband’s job was relocated to Singapore in September of 2019 I looked forward to a change. I’ve always liked change. It’s stagnation and lack of growth I struggle with. At the time, I had a successful career and was halfway to completing my Master’s degree. I was excited about what lay ahead.

An Unexpected Transition

The first six months went smoothly. I completed my Master’s Degree and started a new job as a Curriculum Designer. And then COVID hit. And then I lost my job. And then the wheels fell off. I hadn’t realised how much I had tied my self-worth and identity to my work until I no longer had a successful career.

The Stress of “Success”

I know it’s not just me. Many of us get the message from the time we’re kids that the value we bring to this world can be measured by our success at work. So when we lose our jobs, it can give us the feeling that we’re not enough.

Expanding My Definition of Success

To get past this low point I had to expand my definition of success. I took the time to list my values -love, connection, growth - and search for actions I could take that were aligned with my values. I tried to redefine success as living a life that purposefully aligned with my values. It is, of course, a work in progress.

My Kind of Success: Meaningful Connection

The moments I feel most successful these days are the ones where I feel connected to other people. It’s a quieter kind of success. Cooking with my husband. Chatting with neighbours in the pool. Going for a walk with friends. Laughing with a fellow volunteer. These moments seem small in isolation, but as a whole, they add up to a life that rewards me with rich relationships.

Fulfilment as Aligned Values

Building connections with new people—in my condo, at volunteering, through hobbies—and maintaining bonds with loved ones abroad, has kept me afloat. Developing meaningful relationships gives me a sense of fulfilment that can only come from living in line with my values. The success I now embrace is a collection of authentic moments that align with a life steeped in love, connection, and growth.


​Stephanie Kolentisis is a learning designer with over 13 years of experience working as an educator across Asia. She’s also an explorer who loves to share her adventures with the AWA community. You can check out her website at


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AWA members are women who come from many countries and life experiences but they all have one thing in common — they have chosen to live in Singapore. Some members are new to Singapore,  while some have been here a long time or have returned to Singapore after time away. Our magazine - written and curated by AWA members - focuses on a diverse range of topics including wellness and family, travel tips, cultural events and information, and other helpful tips around navigating and experiencing life in Singapore to it's fullest. 

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