Have you ever asked yourself what success really means to you?
Look around. People hurry and rush, busy chasing someone else’s definition of success – be it a parent, society, or cultural expectation.
Isn't it time to define success for yourself?
Take a minute, well okay, maybe 20, and dive in.
1. What does success look like?
Is it a big house? A fancy car?
Is it your own business?
Is it lots of money in the bank, thousands of Twitter followers or being on Oprah?
Most people have the idea that lots of money = success.
But what if earning that big bank account meant you worked 15 hours a day and always felt stressed out and tired? What if it meant you had to rip people off or be dishonest?
Is that the life you really want?
Make a list or envision what success looks like to you.
When I started this inquiry, I realized that for me success meant freedom: the freedom to do what I love AND love what I do. The freedom to have my own schedule and be my own boss. The freedom to decide every day what I was going to do!
2. How does success feel?
This is critical. Because a genuine definition of success isn’t just about what you want, it’s about how you experience every day of your life.
Do you want to just survive, go through the motions, live for the weekend? Or do you want to really thrive and feel genuinely excited, fulfilled, rewarded and passionate?
I see many clients who strive to please someone else, to earn someone’s love or to feel respected.
But all of these are external drivers.
What if you could be loved, accepted and appreciated no matter what?
Would that change what you were doing right now?
Would you stop working your corporate job and instead start a non-profit to help animals?
Write down exactly how success feels to you.
For me, it's about being excited and passionate about what I do so I orient myself towards joy. Then I ask, what fuels my creativity and energizes me? What makes me happy?
My answer is simple. It’s sharing and giving – helping others, writing (about things I’ve learned, a-has I’ve had), and in being visually creative.
3. How do you want your life to be?
Lately, as I start my morning run, overlooking the Puget Sound, the sun on my face, I think, “it doesn’t get better than this.”
Vision your life.
Are you surrounded by loving friends and family?
Are you alone in a large mansion?
Are you active and engaged in service to others or for a cause that feels meaningful?
See yourself not only in a “work” environment but holistically.
Where are you living and with whom? Do you have time to exercise, meditate, play? Are there ample funds and time for health and holidays?
4. Take Action
Now that you've defined exactly what success is, what it looks like and feels like, it’s time to jump in.
What’s the first thing you can do to move closer to having that experience of success in your life right now?
List three actions you can take this week.
Do this EVERY week, maybe even every day!
Changing habits and re-aligning yourself to your new definition of success takes time and patience.
But now that you’re clear about where you want to go, and have actions to help get you there, you only need to keep going.
Simply remember Dory’s little song from Finding Nemo. “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” And before you know it, your life will feel full, rich, rewarding and successful!