My friend Jane constantly talks about the successes of friends, family, and of course celebrities. She always puts herself down and tells me she will never be successful enough. It is painful to watch someone you love be so hard on themselves. So finally, the other day I asked her, “How do you define success?” She looked at me as if I hit her over the head with a 2×4. I repeated the question in another way, “Jane, what would you need to have, be, or do, to feel successful?” She thought about it for a second, and then flatly stated, “I don’t know.”
Success means different things to different people, and depending on the time in your life, may mean different things then a few years ago. Success comes in many forms. Some may equate it with making a lot of money. Others may equate it with being happy. Others may see success as having strong and meaningful relationships. And finally, to some, it means ALL of these things.
That said, if you can’t personally define success on your own terms, you will never achieve it. If you don’t have a clear vision of what success means to you, then you will constantly be chasing the success or dreams of others. And when you do this for too long, one day you’ll wake up feeling as though you lived in a completely unauthentic way to yourself, to your beliefs, and to what you value. Defining success on your own terms is crucial to actually achieving it.
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In Jane’s case, she was completely at a loss. And for good reason: she spent a good portion of her life trying to achieve the success that someone else had defined. Once she was able to start defining it on her own terms, her whole world started to open. And of course, happiness followed.
Are you yearning for a little success in your life? Do you feel as though you are floundering or don’t know what dreams you are chasing? Do this quick exercise to start defining success on your own terms:
- Take a moment and relax your mind so you aren’t “thinking.” You need to start from a clean slate.
- Forgetting standard definitions of success, start thinking about what YOU want out of life. What values are most important?
- Then, answer these questions: If I were to die tomorrow, what would I want to be sure I did with my life? What legacy would I care most about leaving? What would I want to be known for?
Share in the comments below some of your answers or thoughts around this topic. And of course, feel free to share the love!