Success is an interesting word. It has so many meanings and interpretations. There is the literal definition of the word which is “the achieving of the results wanted or hoped for”, but then there are the individual interpretations of the word when put into the context of someone’s own life.
What makes someone successful? What makes someone unsuccessful? What makes life a success? Who gets to decide? And, how do we define success for our own life?
So many of us never take the time to think about what our own unique definition of success is for our own lives, and more importantly, who we want to be and how we want to show up in our own lives. Instead, we allow the media and the never-ending supply of manipulative marketing tactics to dictate to us what success should look like. How we should measure our lives. What we should measure our lives against.
We forget that there is so much more to life than what we own and what we have. That the dollars on the end of our bank account aren’t a measure of our own worth as a human being.
We have never thought about why we do the things we do. We’ve not thought about what is truly important to us. What the metrics that WE will measure our life will really be when we are 95 and knocking on the door of the next phase of life. For a lot of us I don’t think it will be that we are grateful for the fact that we buried ourselves in a career we disliked, just to acquire stuff that we then didn’t have the time to enjoy, or perhaps didn’t even really want in the first place.
Working out who WE are, what WE value, and WHO we want to show up as in this world is critical for us to take the time to understand. Why? Because if we don’t decide this for ourselves, we will constantly be comparing ourselves to others and what their definition of success is because we don’t know what it looks like for us.
If you follow the path of someone’s else’s definition of success for your life, you’ll always be looking over your shoulder comparing yourself. Walk along the path of your own definition of success and you’ll only ever look forward.
So much of the work that I do with people is about untangling the stories that we have told ourselves over the years about what it means to be successful (and therefore indirectly what it apparently doesn’t mean). We spend time un-learning so much of what we have been taught and instead start focussing on what WE truly want. What excites us. Motivates us. What kind of life do we really want to live once we shake off all the societal pressures that sit just beneath the surface and place pressure on us to conform to the norm? To the ‘successful’ life?
Maybe your definition of success is to create amazing art that lights up the homes of people across the world, but you yourself, don’t care much for a big home or a raft of things to fit into it.
Maybe your definition of success is to be a mid-wife and bring new life into the world. You know you’ll work crazy shifts and crazy hours, so therefore you know that having a home away from the hustle and bustle and noise is critical for your sanity. You want a sanctuary of peace to just be.
Maybe your definition of success is that you want to create a warm, loving home full of children that smells likes amazing baked treats every day, with a warm fire and a backyard to play in. A place where love knows no bounds.
Maybe you just know that you want to leave the world in a better place than what you found it in. You want to help drive positive change for people who need support and your focus is on maintaining kindness, compassion and focus on that.
Whatever it is for you is GREAT – it just has to be consciously and authentically curated for YOU. Not anyone else.
It wasn’t until I really thought about what success was to me that I was able to start to take control of my life. Lead my life instead of it leading me. Bring my aspirations to life – because I finally knew what they really were. I was also able to let go of things that actually weren’t that important to me.
Is it a constant battle to not get drawn into thinking you need to buy more, own more, earn more? Hell YES it is! But, when you can keep coming back to your key values it makes you that much more able to push back on these pressures.
What will be the definition of success for one person will be the complete opposite for another. AND you may not understand it. And guess what? THAT IS GREAT! You don’t have to understand it.
It is not for us to judge another’s definition of success. Instead, it is up to us congratulate them for having the courage to work it out and then structure their life accordingly.
So, here is your chance. Tell me. What is it for you? What is your definition of success for your own life? Who are you and what do you value? Truly value. 50 years from now when you look back, how do you want to have lived and who do you want to be remembered as?
My mission is to help you find YOUR unique definition of success and then get you out of your own way by taking action to make it happen sooner. If you don’t know where to start – start here – Book in one of my free 20 minute coaching consults.