“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth” – Henry David Thoreau
There are four definitions for success in the Oxford Dictionary:
- The accomplishment of an aim or purpose:
- The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status
- A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc
- The good or bad outcome of an undertaking
What is your definition of success? Is it a cookie cutter picture like others in your life or is it uniquely you?
My picture used to be cookie cutter. In a nutshell, it was be the top in my field, make “big bucks”, make a difference in the lives of others and live happily ever after. When I became successful and a Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit, I didn’t feel like a success. I couldn’t or didn’t want to see myself as others saw me. I was content to be in the corner letting others receive the accolades.
When I entered the world of direct sales, my picture of success was a cookie cutter. Yup, I am a people pleaser and didn’t really think about what I wanted. I had forgotten how to dream and define success for me. Over the last six months, things have changed. I can’t explain it. I don’t know if it is a result of the health issues or creeping up on 60 years old or whether I am just seeing myself as others see me.
I have done a lot of digging, and I want my success to be defined as what feels fulfilling and meaningful to me. Ultimately, the traditional definition of success just does not feed my soul or offer any long term fulfilment and joy – for me. Traditional markers of success are about how the world perceives us and seldom takes into consideration how we feel about ourselves, our life or our work.
I have played the comparison game and so have you, where we have compromised our health, our relationships, and our wellbeing to reach someone else’s definition of success. We have ignored our own values so we could be accepted by others instead of building our own success dream. As a result, we find ourselves with a life which is exhausting and unfulfilling.
Building your own approach to success isn’t easy. I regularly battle with Negative Nellie and Perfect Polly. They are the inner gremlins who want me to continue to be a cookie cutter model of success. How have I began building my own approach to success? I want to share with you some things which have helped me to find some peace in my world:
Contentment: Do I feel satisfied in my day-to-day life? Even when the stressors and challenges can’t be avoided, am I content with how I am spending my days?
Purpose: Is my life all about me or is it bigger than just myself and my own needs? Am I am contributing to the world in a way which fulfills my purpose in life?
Passion: Am I excited about my work and my life? Am I eager to get up and start the day?
Joy: Am I happy with my life? Maybe not every single second of every single day, but do I find joy and pleasure in my life on a regular basis?
Stability: Am I financially stable? Am I making smart decisions with my finances?
Personal growth: Am I open to changing, and growing in my life? Am I becoming the best version of me?
Devotion: Am I committed to what matters most in my life? Am I giving 100% to the priorities in my life?
Peace: Am I at peace in my day-to-day life, even when things may not be going as planned? Am I staying connected to my core values, to live an intentional life?
Authenticity: Am I showing up, in both my work and life, fully and 100% myself? Am I owning my story and living in my truth?
Remember these are my markers for how I am redefining success in my life. Truth be told, I don’t live up to these every single day, BUT I am a work in progress not looking for perfection. I’m learning to shift the focus from worrying about how others perceive my life to focusing more on how I feel about my life.
Tell us what success looks like to you…. no cookie cutter answers. What questions would you yourself when fears of “am I successful?” and “am I good enough?” creep in?
Have a ThirtyOne-derufl day!