How Do You Define Success?
What do you think of when you think of a successful person? If you are like most of us you expect that a successful person will be one who has made a lot of money or has achieved some degree of distinction in their field. If pressed however, you would agree that the man who has kept his commitment of 20 hours of quality time per week with his family while earning a comfortable living has been successful. Few among us would hesitate to agree that the single mother who finishes her degree, obtains a good job and sends both of her children through college has achieved success. We often think enviously of the person who gives up on the rat race and finds a way to support their dream of surfing full time as having achieved something most of us only dream of; so why do we automatically think of a “successful” person in terms of dollars or fame?
The stories of successful people who dominate our lives are not those of people who have achieved a specific dream or goal with their lives. We may know of some individually, however the stories that we have all heard revolve around the people who have achieved financial success and public recongition. Tabloid covers scream at us in the checkout line with stories about the romantic misfortunes of screen pop starts, while financial news becomes dominated at times with information about rock star executives and all -star investors. The majority of us only watch professional level sports and even non-sports fans know the names of the most accomplished players. The rich and famous get full page obituaries in national papers and magazines when they die, and the remainder of us are memorialized by a short paragraph listing our survivors and the time of the service. All of this combined impacts our perception of success to the point where we no linger think about success in a way other than money or fame. The perception of success as being related to either money or fame guides our drive toward success in one of those two directions instead of toward a definition of our own choosing.
If you free your mind from outside influences, what does succcess look like to you? This is an important question because we may work hard to achieve something that we don’t actually want – imagine reaching your goal of weatlth or fame only to find out you don’t actually like it. In addition, if we aren’t deeply passionate about a goal, it will be a monumental struggle to accomplish it. When we know that we are working toward our personal idea of success, we enjoy the work. Knowing the specifices of what we want gives us a greater degree of focus and opens our minds to new ideas. In Short, creating an individual idea of success exponentially increases our likelihood to achieveing it.
Think about your idea of success. How does it differ from the popular idea of success? How much of your vision of success truly relates to your goals and core values? If you have difficulty with this, think about how you want to look back on your life as an elderly person. What types of comments would you like to hear if you could attend your own funeral? If you want others to talk about more than the amount of money you made or your career achievements then your definition of success needs to encompass it.
Coaches Challenge: In an email to me or in your own journal write down your personal definition of success. Think about this deeply before you send it to me. How does having this definition change your goals and /or current direction? I am looking forward to hearing about success in YOUR terms!