Years ago I had the idea of success totally mixed up. I’d let what society defined as success become my idea of success.
Here’s what it got me: massive career ‘success’ but seriously stressed out with my health and relationships at risk.
I had achieved what I thought was success… but I felt awful.
I don’t want this for you lovely. I’m going to share with you why you need to redefine what success looks like, otherwise you’ll either
a) constantly be chasing something unachievable or
b) achieve what you think success should be; and still be unfulfilled! Neither of those sounds great.
How success looks is up to you. Not what society or Instagram says.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of defining success by how we measure up in different areas of our lives. You know, like our bank account balances, our job title, whether or not we have a husband or a partner, how many kids we have, how big the house is or expensive the car is.
But is this success, really?
These are like the cookie cutter idea of success defined by society… but not everyone’s the same shaped cookie, right?
If you’ve been slogging away trying to live up to this type of success, maybe you’ve been trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole. It’s time to take a step back and start with a blank page. Forget for a moment all the ‘success’ concepts of society or what it looks like on the ‘gram.
Look at all of the different areas of your life and decide what success, to you, looks like in those areas. Here’s a couple of examples, but go ahead and make up your own!
What does success look like for you in your career? I don’t want you to just focus on the job title or the salary that you’re going to get or the company you’re going to work for.
> How you’re going to feel.
> How balanced are you going to be?
> Are you going to be working 24 hours a day or are you going to be working eight hours a day?
> Are you going to love doing your job?
Think of all those things, not just the job title and the salary.
Think about not just who you’re in a relationship with, but how you feel, what that relationship gives you, what you enjoy about that relationship, how you spend time together.
Think beyond your intimate relationship. I also want you to think about your family, your friends and other important life relationships.
Health & Wellbeing
What’s your ideal state for health and wellbeing? Describe how you’d look and feel in your most successful healthy life.
Don’t let social media define what ideal health and wellbeing mean to you. Washboard abs might be the Insta version of health success but behind the scenes, other things may be completely out of balance. Having a fit looking body doesn’t necessarily add up to overall balanced wellbeing.
Maybe health success for you is making smart eating choices 80% of the time and allowing yourself to let loose a little the other 20%; rather than trying to stick to a strict eating plan 24/7. Or exercising 3 times a week instead of slogging it out at the gym for hours a day.
When it comes to finances, most of us are chasing the feeling of freedom or security that comes with money, but do you really need to have a million bucks in the bank to achieve that feeling?
Maybe you’ve told yourself you’ll be successful (ie, get the feeling) when you’ve got a million stashed away in savings. The reality is though, that day may come and although your dollar amount matches what you’d defined as success; what has it cost to get you there? Working insane hours, neglecting relationships and your health to get that success may leave you feeling just the opposite.
Breaking success down to micro goals with finances will also help. Setting aside an achievable amount to save each pay can help you feel like you’re successfully managing your finances and working towards your future security. Committing to incremental progress, you can allow yourself to feel successful now, without waiting for some unicorn dollar amount to be in the bank.
“Progress equals happiness” – Tony Robbins
What are you doing to grow yourself and expand your mind? Successful personal growth isn’t just about taking a bunch of important sounding courses for the sake of it.
Think about the areas in your life you’d like to break new grounds and in doing so, you’d feel a sense of achievement or excitement. Maybe it’s learning to skydive, or taking spanish classes or putting your hand up at work to take the lead on a project; even if you feel a little in over your head!
The secret to living is giving. I believe a truly successful life has strong foundations of contribution. This doesn’t mean you need to make massive amounts of money or start the next Bill Gates Foundation to successfully impact others lives through contribution.
Maybe your version of successful contribution is doing a random act of kindness each week or using your professional skills on a pro-bono basis to work on a not for profit project. If you do want to give money, great! It doesn’t mean making crazy huge donations to be a successful giver. It could mean tithing with your church or committing to an affordable, but ultimately impactful, regular donation to a charity that aligns with your values.
So now you have 6 general areas you can work with on defining what success means to you; but go ahead and come up with your own too!
What does your ideal life look like in these areas for you…. forget what your colleagues, friends and everyone on Instagram is doing.
Once you’ve finished, you’ll have a good idea of what your successful life looks like. Now think of all those areas each taking up part of a circle and how can you make that circle balanced.
You don’t necessarily want your career to take up three-quarters of your circle.
That was the trap I fell down.
I kept thinking – if I work harder, if I do more, if I do this, if I do that, then I’ll be successful.
And I did that. I was incredibly successful in my career, but I was doing it at the sacrifice of my health by not taking proper care of myself.
When I stepped back, did the exercise above, I saw the big picture. I realised my definition of success is massive career success without compromising my health, without compromising my relationships, without compromising the important things.
Now I’ve figured out how to do that but it all starts with understanding what success looks like for you; not just falling into the societal norms of being a soldier that rocks up to work everyday to make a lot of money.
Go ahead and figure out what success looks like for you. I love for you to share your outcomes with me in The Success Collective!
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