(Taken from an interview with Jim Harrison, my hands-down favorite writer. I've italicized the last few lines of his answer as there is much there to be pondered. You can take out the word "writer" and insert whatever is appropriate, e.g., "river guide" or "guitar hero" or "stay-at-home-mom." Even "human being" works quite well if you're somewhat undecided.)
Q: Critics have wonderful things to say about you. For example, The Sunday Times (London) has said that "Jim Harrison is a writer with immortality in him." How do you keep such praise from going to your head? What do you consider to be your shortcomings as a writer?
A: I don't have any problem of keeping critical comments from going to my head. Much of my most extreme critical praise comes in France and I don't read French very well, so it's easy. There is no problem in that I've never paid much attention to reviews because by the time they appear I'm already working on something else. It's also very dangerous to base your self-worth as a writer on a media consensus because frequently the media isn't thinking about you at all which would then mean you don't exist. Thinking about your shortcomings as a writer should probably be avoided, as it would be quite paralyzing...I don't worry about that because I'm living the life I chose. (italics mine)
Q: Are you basing your self-worth on a consensus of some kind? It could even be the consensus of one person.
A: (this is where you come in)
Q: Are you living the life you chose? Granted, some days life will choose for you, but for the most part, are you choosing your life?
A: (again, the ball's in your court)
One word of encouragement as you answer: try and keep it grounded. For example, if you answer the first question with something like well, John, I'm living for an audience of one (meaning God), then I believe you're taking the easy way out. It sounds incredibly spiritual; it also sounds like a bumper sticker. The same thing applies to the second question. If you answer with well, John, I'm living the life God chose for me, then again, I'd say you're not wrestling with the question.
These are not questions to answer quickly and then move on...